Lecture educates young voters
September 3, 2008 11:53 PM
While some undergraduates settle in to watch the latest fall TV premiers, other SF State students take in a whole other kind of series.
Fitting the current, politically charged climate, tonight marked the second public lecture in a series covering the presidential election.
“I wanted students to gather together for election night instead of being alone in their dorms,” said event organizer Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Tonight the series, which can be taken for credit as special course BSS 275, focused on coverage of the Republican National Convention.
“Politics is very important,” Kassiola said. “It can cause dramatic change.”
18-year-old Ana Brumidis is taking this course to help make a better vote in November.
“I’m not very interested in politics,” Brumidis said. “So I want to make sure I make the right choice.”
Robert Flores, 18, will also be voting this year and is interested in learning more about the two candidates. “This class will help me get informed,” Flores said
The lecture series is hosted by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Jack Adams Hall and held every Wednesday night from 7:15 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. The two-unit course is open to students and community members who want to learn about issues surrounding the 2008 presidential election.
Kassiola and Kathryn Johnson, coordinator for special projects, are co-facilitators for the course this year. Kassiola led the course in 2003 to help students learn about issues behind the Iraq War.
Since then, the course has covered political issues with foreign policy and presidential campaigns. “It has been a unique opportunity for people in the community to become informed and educated about politics,” Kassiola said.
Every week students, faculty, and community members will be able to watch the election campaigns and discuss social and public policy issues for each candidate. About 48 faculty members from 20 different departments will be guest speaking each week to analyze different issues in the election.
“This is a really good chance for students to see professors they admire or want to study with,” Johnson said.
About 400 people attended the second evening of the lecture series. In the last 20 minutes, a group discussion was opened. Several students lined up behind a microphone to speak with Kassiola and Professor Francis Neely, the guest speaker brought from the political science department.
Tonight’s discussion covered Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech for the Republican vice presidential candidate nomination. Other campaign issues such as candidates' beliefs on the economy, education and U.S. foreign policy will be debated in the next 14 weeks.
On November 4, election night, those attending will participate in a state-by-state count with real-time analysis by SF State political science experts. The last presidential election, in 2004, brought 600 people to Jack Adams Hall for the live election coverage.
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