If you’re like me, this lengthy campaign season and prolonged election cycle has seriously taken its toll. While political burnout might seem easier to succumb to than it has in the past, this year has also helped many of us realize political and civic engagement can be more rewarding than we previously imagined. With the 2020 election displaying record voter turnout, particularly among young voters, students may feel inspired to continue their political engagement.
Staying involved in civic processes is not a one-size-fits-all. There are a vast number of ways students can remain engaged outside of voting, from formal classroom education to extracurricular peer-led discussions. In recent years, including this one, the University of Delaware has been named a top school for the Student Voting Honor Roll, which not only demonstrates that our student body remains civically engaged, but also indicates that there are a number of on-campus offerings that foster a supportive environment for political awareness.
While the 2020 presidential election may be over, there are still plenty of other opportunities for students to get involved with politics outside of casting ballots. If you feel civic engagement has been a transformative experience for you and would like to spend time encouraging fellow students to join in the democratic process, then you should check out Make It Count. If you’re interested in finding ways to have safe and productive political discussions or to learn more about political issues, Let’s Talk is another RSO to try. Both of these RSOs are non-partisan, but more ideology-specific RSOs are available as well, including the College Democrats and College Republicans, among others.
An additional way to find political opportunities on campus (virtually) would be to check out events offered in the Honors Weekly Updates. Notable past events include Dr. Munson’s Honors Study Breaks covering a variety of topics, such as student activism, the election, and the Supreme Court.
The Biden Institute is another resource for political engagement. This semester’s events hosted through the Institute have featured speakers like Pete Buttigieg, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Ana Navarro, among many others. The Institute’s adjustment to online events this semester indicates there will be many future opportunities for students to engage with prominent politicians and leaders in the spring semester as well.
Taking a political science or political communications class is another great way to learn more about political processes. Many of these courses can even count toward your unfulfilled university breadth or multicultural requirements, and some offer Honors sections as well. If there is no room in your schedule for electives and you’ve fulfilled university requirements, the good news is you absolutely don’t need to be taking political science classes to attend departmental events. The Center for Political Communication offers events and opportunities for further student engagement as well.
As we’re nearing the end of a monumental year for politics and essentially everything else, as well as an unusual semester, there are (luckily) still plenty of ways for students to get involved with politics besides discussions around Thanksgiving dinner with our families.
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- “The Philosophy of More Cowbell” by Nadya Ellerhorst - December 8, 2020