The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Professor brings presidential election closer to home

By André Green/managing editor

If you could ask a presidential candidate one question, what would it be?

That is what CNN, YouTube and now SE Campus want to know as they are seeking students’ participation in the Nov. 28 Republican Presidential debate in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The first-of-its-kind video debate held in July for the Democratic candidates proved to be such a hit that Dr. Hamed Madani, professor of government, wanted to provide SE Campus students a platform to voice their issues to the Republican hopefuls.

“I personally think it is something that is good for young students,” he said. “It will promote participation among young people.”

Madani said he wants students to recognize their ideas do matter in this presidential election. And he is not alone.

During a breakfast earlier this year, SE Campus President Judith Carrier said she approached the campus’ 10 Chancellors’ Exemplary Teaching Award recipients and asked if they would be interested in working together on a campus project that would energize the students, faculty and staff.

“It occurred to me that these are exemplary teachers,” she said, “and we really have never asked them if there was something they might want to do for the campus to use the wonderful leadership skills they have.”

Following a few brainstorming meetings, the group chose the theme Electing to Change the Future with the goal of educating students on the importance of political involvement throughout the academic year. Each member selected a specific task to undertake—all with the objective of student involvement and participation.

Aside from Madani’s YouTube element, the group has scheduled visits by the Republican and Democratic parties, a voter registration drive conducted by the League of Women Voters and electronic voting booth demonstrations.

Madani had previously attended a seminar focusing on ways to get students more involved in their government. From that discussion, he took with him some polling statistics from the Center for Political Participation that would later serve as the catalyst for bringing YouTube to the campus.

“The seminar was basically focused on getting students politically involved and active learning,” he said. “Ninety percent of those respondents interviewed have never followed political campaigns closely; 88 percent said they have never volunteered their time to help political candidates in a particular election, and 16 percent discuss politics with friends and family.”

From the statistical data presented, Madani concluded that although Americans have a high interest in civic involvement, they exhibit a very low level of political engagement.

Although the campaign is geared toward the student body, anyone is welcome to submit a video, Madani said.

Those interested in asking a question but having trouble putting it together should not let it hinder them from participating, he said. Sample questions are available on YouTube’s Web site. If anyone still has trouble phrasing a submission, Madani said he would assist.

Madani said students should ask questions that are creative, thought-provoking, personal and unique.

“If your question is selected, you may get the opportunity to go to the debate,” he said.

Some students have already reacted positively to the Change campaign. Students Alana Braudaway and Crystal Zumbrennen thought it was a great idea.

“I think it’s awesome,” Braudaway said. “We have so many people that don’t vote, this is a great opportunity to get them interested.”

Zumbrennen said the videos, as well as all the political attention on campus, would have an impact on those who simply do not care.

“With the debates mixed with YouTube, people will do something,” she said. “If I can come up with a good question, I will do it.”

Carrier said the plan initially called for the theme to change every academic year, but with the general election in November, she said she would not mind if this theme went on a little longer.

“ I’d like to see it run through next fall,” she said.

The last available video session is 2-5 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Century Room. If there is enough participation, the deadline could be extended, Madani said.

Anyone wishing to make a video can contact Madani at 817-515-3733 or Debbie Kowalak at 817-515-3092 or visit ESED 2302A.

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