A nonpartisan movement has become increasingly popular in America, especially with college-age voters. Many Americans have become disillusioned with the two-party political pattern, and the endless bickering as stalemates in Congress between Republicans and Democrats this year frustrate citizens to no end. While the nonprofit Free & Equal organization is currently working on federal reform of the political system, student Brock Monroe ’14 has created his own nonpartisan effort, the Democracy Project, for Rollins students.
The Democracy Project represents one of the Office of Community Engagement’s many initiatives to connect students with a civic concern on a personal level. He felt an organization of this nature was absent from Rollins when he first arrived
“It provides a place on campus for students to explore their political identity without pushing one particular agenda. When I first came to Rollins, I worked with the Rollins Democrats and even though that experience was great, the main goal was to provide a specific political message,” Monroe said. “Students are often questioning their political views for the first time while they are in college, and they need a place that will assist them in that questioning.”
While college can be a time for students to develop their own individual political philosophy, the negative press that politics often receives tempts students to become apathetic about politics altogether.
“Political apathy is something that all students should fight against while they are in college. One of the easiest ways to make a difference in the world is to be democratically engaged,” Monroe believes.
Rollins offers students many opportunities to become politically engaged, such as registering to vote at turbovote.org; joining the Democracy Project Leadership Team, Rollins Republicans, or Rollins Democrats; or joining organizations in the local community like the League of Women Voters.
This year, the Democracy Project has hosted/co-hosted an impressive array of events for students, including The President’s Council, National Voter Registration Day, Constitution Day, and has invited political leaders to campus to speak to students in a recurring event titled “R Community, R Future, R Leaders.” The latest of these events will be on Thursday, April 10, where Winter Park City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Sarah Sprinkel will engage with students in a dialogue about the local community. The Democracy Project has also recently collaborated with Pinehurst Cottage in a “News Round Up” held on the porch of Pinehurst, giving students the opportunity to discuss topical local, state, national, and international news in an informal environment.
OCE is currently looking for a new Student Coordinator and three Student Ambassadors for the Democracy Project for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. If you are interested, please email Marissa Corrente, Assistant Director of OCE, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brock Monroe (email@example.com). You can also stay up to date with the Democracy Project by following their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RollinsDemocracyProject.
With opportunities such as these literally staring you in the face as you walk along campus, what excuse do you have for not becoming politically engaged?