Our drive to pursue the issues continued the next day as students gathered to delve further into each conversation. On day two we summarized the key components of each topic and transformed our thoughts into questions. Talks of student debt, legal immigration status, police brutality, government assistance, military resources and more flowed through the halls and courtyard on Dominican’s campus. The knowledge each student brought contributed to having full and robust conversations. Once we settled on three questions for each topic we were ready to show the country our work. During a digitally televised event on MtvU and ABC Digital Live, we voted on the final questions we want the candidates to answer:
- Economy and Income Inequality
- How would you restructure governmental assistance programs for the unemployed or impoverished to obtain self-sufficiency?
- Foreign Policy (tie)
- What specific circumstances would prompt the United States to use military resources in a foreign country? How would you utilize the nation’s military resources?
- How do you plan on supporting Syrian civilians without creating further conflict with other political actors?
- Social Justice/ Civil Rights
- What will you do to reduce the recidivism and mass incarceration rates in communities where poverty and violence are prevalent?
- < >What is your plan for aiding the employment of skilled refugees and immigrants in their respective fields?
As we wrapped up the evening, we focused on next steps and how to make our voices
heard. We planned to push out the questions via social media to encourage the moderators to ask our questions. Upon returning to campus we also planned how to Get Out The Vote through voter registration and education. Through the Campus Election Engagement Project, I already have the opportunity to work with campuses to refine their voter engagement plans. However, my role as a student is never done, as I continue to open the conversation about voting with my peers. On my plane ride to College Debate ’16 I read Paul Loeb’s book Soul of a Citizen. Paul is the founder of CEEP and his words resonated with me during the conference. He encourages citizens to get involved even though they may not know an abundance about every topic. During College Debate, I knew less about foreign policy than I did about education but I listened and learned from those around me. The brilliance of the College Debate experience goes beyond the debate questions into the realm of active young leaders. Even though we may not have known about every topic we did not shy away from the conversation. As we returned to our campuses with the intent of guiding our peers into the conversation surrounding active citizenship. We will continue to pursue dialogue that is challenging, confrontational at times, but part of being in a democracy. To sum it up, may the moderators ask our questions and our fellow millennials exercise their right to vote.
Want to see the televised event from College Debate ’16? Check it out at www.collegedebate16.org. Interested in hearing more about CEEP in Wisconsin? Contact Jacque Moss at Jacquelyn.email@example.com