On Thursday, Oct. 16, the Political Engagement Project hosted journalist Tim Skubick, who returned for a third time to speak about current political issues.
A broad spectrum of students, community members, faculty and staff showed up to the event, bringing the room to about three quarters of the way full.
Skubick began the seminar by “picking on” students in the room, asking if they knew who the candidates who were running for governor and U.S senate. Generally, the answer to his questions were “I have no idea.”
“Isn’t it fascinating as we sit here tonight, three weeks before the election, and most of you in the room could not name the candidates?” Skubick said, upon having “picked on” most of the students in attendance. “I’ve done this around the state. Don’t feel bad, you’re just like everybody else. Nobody knows who these candidates are. I say to audiences, with all due respect, how can you cast an intelligent vote on election day if you do not even know the names of the candidates, let alone what they might stand for, or what they would do?”
Skubick kept the attention of his audience through humor, but also pointed out that the goal of his being there was to get people involved
“I’m making fun of this to get you engaged. If you guys aren’t engaged, here’s what happens to our democracy. Here’s what happens when you have, what I call the sensible center of the political spectrum, the people that are not wacky on the left or on the right, not engaged. If you all don’t play, you turn our precious democracy over to the fringes on the right and the left, because they are engaged.”
“You may have noticed here tonight, that I didn’t stand behind the podium, and I didn’t deliver a 45 minute lecture, did I? I did that on purpose. One, because I couldn’t do it, and two, for those of you that aren’t asleep, the rest of you would have been asleep,” Skubick said, as he brought the seminar to a close, and took questions from the audience.
Students seemed to respond well to the seminar, despite some of them being “picked on” by Skubick for names of candidates.
Arielle Borkovich, a junior and public relations major, said that even though she personally didn’t have much interest in politics, she enjoyed the event. “I think that he made good points about how you need to be educated about the people running for office, because you need to make an educated vote. It’s not good to vote for someone just because you’ve heard their name. I think that he made it more interesting and engaging by being lighthearted and making jokes.”
Borkovich also said that she thinks people need to be more concerned with politics than they are. “I think people should be more concerned with politics. Those are the people running our country and you can’t really complain about how it’s being run if you don’t vote and make an educated decision when you vote.”
Chandler Owen, a freshman and also a PR major, said that she also liked the seminar. “I really enjoyed it. I went into it thinking it was going to be kind of dull, but he was really interactive and exciting, so he really brought the crowd into it.”
She also said that she does personally hold an interest in politics. “I do, just because my family’s always been interested in politics. I wouldn’t really understand politics if it wasn’t for my family. They think it’s incredibly important to understand it.”
Owen agreed that society needs to be more interested in what’s going on in the government. “I feel like we don’t really care about politics anymore, so we’re just letting these people run our society. I feel like the people should run the society, and not just one singular person.”