On Friday, March 4th Miami Dade College’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy (iCED) Office hosted “Civics in the City”, an all day workshop any student who wanted to learn to use their power and become more involved in the upcoming election. Participants included Andrew Goodman Fellows, past CEEP fellows and political science students.
iCED was Established in 1994 as the “Service-Learning Center” with a Learn and Serve grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the department initially focused on developing a service-learning program at the college. It is a college-wide program that serves all eight MDC campuses, is part of Academic Affairs, works closely with Student Affairs, and is responsible for myriad programs at the college.
The workshops consisted of three speakers (including myself) that guided students through the process of discovering and vocalizing their passions, and using it to create change. They also learned about understanding voter laws and ways to break barriers, and how to build effective groups of volunteers to spread the word to engage the student body. They also learned how to identify resources on campus to help them organize.
During my conversation, we discussed their passions and talked about how they are affected by policy and identified the correlation between policy and voting. We also shared best practices and tips to engage other students and strategies and applications to stay organized and prevent burn out.
Events like this are pivotal on campus communities. Having a space where all aspects of the community can come share, and engage with students to encourage and inspire them to get activated to impact issues they they are passionate about is an effective path to authentic engagement. Statistics show that engaging young people to vote is critical to the success of any candidate. By using the approach of connecting first, with the passion of young people and then using the passion as a vehicle to engage them in the election process is a step in the right direction.
Great job, Miami- Dade!