Classes like Political Polarization taught by Houck still have discussions based around political affiliations and the seemingly strict defining lines in their ideologies.
Professor Mark Kelso’s class on Campaigns and Elections is always taught in the fall of an election year because the experience becomes more interactive that way. Students are able to watch debates and keep track of events as they unfold, say professors within the department.
Members of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society for undergraduate and graduate students of political science, are using this year’s election cycle as an opportunity for education of students. They will be holding a special event with debate watching parties and a talk from Aaron Houck on Oct. 19, Constitution Day.
Another way that the Queens community connects with election events is through the “Queens Considers” series of talks. This lecture series is a non-partisan effort that brings the expertise of local professors and national colleagues to an open environment. Its goal is to educate both students and voters in Charlotte and the surrounding area about some of the most important issues of the elections.
“We try to use timing and events to deepen students understanding of basic political science concepts.” says Dr. Margaret Commins, associate professor of political science. Commins is an engaged faculty scholar in the North Carolina Campus Compact, a non-partisan organization put together by college presidents in the 1980’s to help students in more engaged service, civic skills and working in their communities. It serves as a resource on campus, educating students on their right to vote. including registration.
A drive was scheduled to take place on Sept. 27, Registration Day. There students had the opportunity to register to vote.
Events like this take time. Students like Margaret Nelson, senior and major in political science and sociology, have been working since mid-February, sending out emails and coordinating students with venues. Overturns in the court system change laws in voting all the time, so Nelson has had to stay up to date with her information to stay as accurate as possible.
“There’s importance in educating students so they’re completely informed,” said Nelson. “There are more college students voting than the media would like you to think there are.”