MACON – Mercer University juniors Jayla Moody and Cole Porter and Vice President and Dean of Students Dr. Doug Pearson have been selected to participate in the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement Conference, coordinated by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School, Feb. 2-4 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Moody, from Decatur, is a double-major in French and global development studies with a minor in French, and Porter, from Dublin, is a political science major with a minor in global development studies.
“We are excited that Mercer University has been selected to participate in this event at Harvard,” said Dr. Pearson. “Over the last two years, Mercer has launched the Center for Leadership and Ethics, received recognition for winning the 'SoCon Votes' competition, and has been recognized nationally by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. All of these endeavors reflect that our students care deeply about leadership and civic engagement and are serious about changing the world around them. Cole and Jayla are excited about this unparalleled opportunity to engage with representatives of other colleges from around the country, and plan to bring back and share new ideas and initiatives with the Mercer community.”
This year's conference program will focus on catalyzing broader student participation in political dialogue and engagement on college campuses. Participants will identify processes and strategies to support open, diverse and inclusive political conversations that can provide first steps toward reconnecting college students and Americans who often see no common ground.
“We are excited to explore this year's theme – civil discourse – with students from all over the country. The National Campaign Conference is a unique opportunity for diverse perspectives to converge and for students to explore productive and effective methods of dialogue which they can bring back to their respective campuses – a necessary and relevant course of action,” said Eloise Kaehny, chair of the National Campaign Committee.
Since 2003, the IOP-led alliance of over 30 colleges and universities has held annual conferences to identify collaborative projects, foster engagement in electoral politics, assist students in pursuing careers in public service and provide a foundation in civic education.
Led by a team of Harvard undergraduate students, the collegiate ambassadors to the National Campaign work together to achieve concrete goals, such as working with local election offices to improve the voting experience for their campus communities.
“We at the IOP are committed to supporting programs like the National Campaign, which allow students to openly discuss areas of political and social disagreement and develop strategies to expand the scope of civil discourse on campus,” said IOP Acting Director Bill Delahunt.
In addition to Mercer, institutions participating in this year's conference include Allegheny College, Arizona State University, Colby College, Davidson College, Elon University, Florida International University, Franklin and Marshall College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Howard University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Saint Anselm College, Simpson College, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Delaware, University of Florida, University of Louisville, University of North Carolina, University of Oklahoma, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Texas, Austin, University of Utah and University of Virginia.