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GUEST COLUMN: Participate in "Engagement is Central" programing

Madeline Thomas

At the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, we provide students with opportunities to make a difference. 

Here, students can participate in the social issues they're passionate about. However, we believe that volunteering can transcend direct service. Volunteering can be one of the most powerful mechanisms for forging institutional political change. 

This semester "Engagement is Central" is bridging the gap between volunteering and civic engagement. Through guest speakers, workshops, and facilitation we want to build civic literacy and political efficacy among our student participants. 

Why are these programs important? Research has shown that civic and political identity forms in college students. Central Michigan University has the ability to play a meaningful role in the development of this identity. 

Central Votes has done exemplary work to expand the voting resources for students. Now, the Volunteer Center is taking steps toward institutionalizing civic engagement efforts on campus.

Last week, our first event focused on community organizations. We brought in representatives from the Citizens Climate Lobby, League of Women Voters and the City of Mount Pleasant

Beyond our speakers, there is plenty more to look forward to. Next semester, we will run workshops to teach students how to write to the representatives, safely protest, join political groups, engage in political dialogue and more. 

The goal of our program is to instill a lifelong passion for working to create a just and equitable society. 

This change doesn’t happen overnight, it starts with students showing up and getting engaged. Students need to be given the tools to effectively engage in our democracy. Engagement is Central intends to do just that.

State Representative Sarah Anthony will be joining us for a virtual discussion on Wednesday, March 10th. Find all useful details in the flyer below:

Madeline Thomas is a Macomb Junior that’s studying political science with an emphasis on civic engagement and its societal impacts. Thomas has worked legislative internships with State Rep. Sara Cambensy and Christine Greig as well as Sen. Gary Peters. She now works on-campus as a Voter Engagement Student Coordinator.