Gaining political insight

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Community college students are using the election as an opportunity for hands-on learning.

At Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in Kentucky, political science students contributed to a 30+ year college tradition of polling the area in search of predictions for Kentucky elections.  Under the leadership of Professor Hossein Motamedi, director of the BCTC Public Opinion Poll, students in American government courses polled 261 voters across the state.

A group of students called individuals from a frequent voters list representing Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and the 6th District in October. They asked a series of questions about how well state and federal officials are doing their jobs and handling the COVID-19 pandemic. They also asked respondents to indicate for whom they would vote if the “election was held today.”

Students enjoyed real world political experiences by conducting election polls, according to a press release, especially while learning about public opinion and elections during an election year.

A personal interest

In Maryland, Hagerstown Community College Peggy Mothershed “decided to blend her interest in environmental affairs and local politics into a case study for her environmental policy and regulations course,” according to an article in the Herald-Mail Media.

With guidance from political science professor Eric Schwartz, the first-year student created a survey to gauge attitudes of Washington County residents toward environmental issues. The survey was directed toward people who had previously expressed an interest in environmental issues, such as those on mailing lists for the Washington County Sierra Club, the Antietam-Conococheague Watershed Alliance and Boonsboro Green Fest.

Mothershed plans to make the results of the survey public.

Schwartz told the Herald Mail-Media that he’d never had a student do a survey like this and that “he might carry forward the idea for use in future courses.”

And at Miami Dade College, students in the Student Government Association took part in a campaign to encourage their peers to get out and vote Nov. 3. They filmed this video posted on YouTube, which tells students, “Your vote is your voice.”

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.

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