By Melissa Moskowitz
In 2014, Union College will prepare to graduate its current freshman class of 560 students, a class ultimately comprised of lawyers, philosophers, doctors, engineers, artists and countless other young professionals. They will also be preparing to graduate 560 young citizens.
Regardless of your major, most people at Union College receive a considerable political education. Union offers its students a number of ways to get involved and learn about politics. Even those with full courseloads who don’t have the ability to take classes can involve themselves politically. From Minerva events watching and discussing midterm election results to interesting lectures with former press secretaries and three time presidential candidates, Union doesn’t suffer from any lack of opportunity for students to seek political engagement.
So it is always surprising that Union, like many other college campuses, seems to spread political indifference like the plague. In a social and political environment where opportunities for political discourse happen daily, it is baffling to me how uninformed the campus populace can be. A speaking engagement by Ralph Nader should not be the only method of curing political apathy. Student-run groups like Campus Action, the College Democrats and the College Republicans throw excellent, but often under-attended, events that seek to engage the campus in legitimate political dialogue.
Although it sounds juvenile, and it is probably the answer given by every political figurehead about student apathy—a call for a greater political education is needed. I would ideally like to see the introduction of new general education requirement that mandates students to take at least one political science course while at Union. To do this, I’d suggest removing one of the WAC requirements in place of politically focused course.
In the end, you can’t escape being a citizen of a country. If college is tasked with preparing you to be a well-rounded individual, the absence of a political education serves to undermine this noble objective.