Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Developing ‘exceptional citizens’

Students sponsor voter education efforts

With the presidential election just weeks away, a Wheaton student organization has teamed up with others on campus to launch a variety of voter education initiatives aimed at spurring civic engagement among their peers.

Wheaton’s student chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national political engagement group, has sponsored events that include live viewings of the presidential debates and a voter registration drive organized with the Student Government Association. The group has also teamed up with Wheaton’s Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility (SSSR) to host a panel discussion series called “Voting 101.”

Lara Geis of the Roosevelt Institute

Lara Geis '13

The second of these discussions, on Sept. 27, focused on the economy. Economics professors John Miller and John A. Gildea led the panel by using data to explain the economic policies of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Afterward, the professors responded to points raised by student panelists Andrew Christianson ’13, Gavin Mackie ’13, and Henry Sims ’13, and answered questions from the audience. Wheaton Roosevelt President Lara Geis ’13 moderated the discussion.

“Initiatives such as these speak to Wheaton’s commitment to fostering the type of open dialogue that ultimately yields active and informed members of the international community,” Geis said. “I am so proud to be a part of this.”

The first “Voting 101” panel featured of the candidates’ positions on education policy. The next panel, scheduled for Oct. 18, will focus on the candidates’ foreign policy views.

“The collective goal of these panels is to provide comprehensive voter education to the Wheaton community and, correspondingly, members from every niche of the Wheaton community have committed themselves to the success of this communal endeavor,” said Geis. “Wheaton produces not only exceptional scholars, but also exceptional citizens.”

Associate Dean of SSSR Vereene Parnell also praised the faculty’s dedication to civic learning. “I think the level of information delivered at [the] event was remarkable, and I am truly grateful that Professor Gildea and Professor Miller took their participation so seriously,” she said.

“I am inspired by the work that faculty and students from Roosevelt and SGA have put into this project,” Parnell continued. “I hope it pays off for students—and the country—when it comes time to vote.”

--Alex Cilley ’14