Congress to Campus Program promotes civic understanding at Alcorn

Former members of the United States Congress shared key information with Alcorn State University students about civic literacy and participation.

Alcorn’s School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Social Sciences hosted the Congress to Campus Program Wednesday, Sept. 14 and Thursday, Sept. 15. The United States Association of Former Members of Congress, in partnership with the Stennis Center, operates the Congress to Campus Program for Public Service. The program’s purpose is to enlighten today’s youth and young adults on civic literacy and participation. The Honorable Les AuCoin (D-Oregon) and the Honorable Claudine Schneider (R-Rhode Island) delivered keynote speeches at the Medgar Wiley Evers Auditorium in the J. D. Boyd Library Wednesday.

AuCoin spoke to the students about the importance of exercising their right to vote. He stated that their right to vote holds an immense amount of power, and that they should take advantage of their opportunity to help shape the future.

“You have to make the choices that are the best for you,” said AuCoin. “Not participating in exercising your vote can be detrimental to the future. We may not have much, but what we do have is our right to vote. It’s up to your generation to help us ensure that we participate as much as possible to chose the candidate who will have everyone’s interest at heart.”

Schnieder agreed with AuCoin’s stance on voting. She gave the students the advice her father passed on to her about not taking action and being unhappy with the results.

“My father told me and my siblings that you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem; there is no middle ground,” said Schneider. “If you’re just going to complain, then you don’t have a voice because you’re not doing anything. Talk is cheap; what really count are your actions.”

The speakers enlightened Austin Pope, a sophomore and business administration major. He said that he hopes the program becomes an annual event so that more students can be informed about taking a stance in society, voting and other political issues.

“I thought the program was really good and helpful,” said Austin. “It really opened my eyes to a lot of things I wasn’t aware of. I hope they bring the program back next year because it’s a great way of informing students about politics.”

Dajionnea Booth, a sophomore and social work major, credited the speakers for shedding light on many of her political concerns.

“It was very helpful to me because it answered some political questions that I’ve had for a while,” said Dajionnea. “Being there and listening to the information was great for my classmates and I.”

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