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

SE project wants students involved politically

By Courtney Horton/reporter

One SE government instructor encourages her students to get involved in politics and get to know what’s going on around the community.

“Elected officials only pay attention to voters when they want to be re-elected, and that means keeping the people who voted for you interested and happy, also, making decisions that the voters support and agree with,” Ruthann Geer said.

The Democracy Commitment, a SE student organization, is a national movement among community colleges that focus on participating colleges doing more to engage their communities, such as schools and neighborhoods, on both the state and national level. Geer said.

“I think students are often intimidated and put off by the ‘politics’ of government — the nastiness of it all,” she said.

The group began as the sister program to the American Democracy Project, which is offered at four-year universities, said SE student Dennis Fiveash. The organization attempts to rekindle the idea of a community of people working together to achieve worthy goals.

“This fall semester, our group on the SE Campus hosted two days of voter registration in late September and registered 311 students,” Geer said. “As for not volunteering, some students have never had any experience doing such activities.”

Students are also uncertain as to what they will be expected to do and are fearful of the unknown, Geer said.

“Many adults only become interested in elections or government if it affects them,” she said. “One thing that has to happen to get students’ attention is to make it personal to them.”

Fiveash, a TDC student leader, emphasizes that everyone in the group is an equal and what the students bring to the table determines what kinds of initiatives and projects unfold.

“As a campus in the past, we have held food drives, voter drives, health drives, movie days, toy drives and special dinners,” he said. “This includes the Women’s Appreciation dinner and our annual Arlington Life Shelter dinner.”

Student involvement has been a real challenge, Fiveash said. It evokes an idea of commitment, which many of the younger generations are trying to avoid, as well as implies some kind of affiliation with a political party.

“The reason I feel it is so important to all of us is because the concept of unity is what will heal this country from what ails it,” he said.

If society is going to make this country great again, everyone must work together, Fiveash said.

“This semester, I have been holding an election awareness campaign to raise awareness among the students about the election process and the importance of voting here in Texas,” he said. “TDC can help students become empowered into recognizing that each of us making a difference individually will impact the world as a whole.”

Geer said students interested in joining TDC can contact her via email at ruthann.geer@tccd.edu or by phone at 817-515-3464.

“We are varying our meetings currently so that more students can come,” she said.

The TDC meets one week on Wednesday and another week on Tuesday usually around 4 p.m.

“I believe that a community is a stronger and better place when its residents take ownership and work to see improvements made,” she said.

College students are the future leaders in their neighborhoods, schools and communities, Geer said.

They have a responsibility to help make those places successful for everyone and not just a few, she said.

“I am passionate about government and the possibilities are endless,” she said.

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