WDC to co-sponsor Student Dialogue for Democracy

Forum aims to engage and empower youth to participate in civic life

January 31, 2005

Madison - In the first in a series of forums around the state aimed at promoting civic involvement and activism among college-age students, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is co-sponsoring a “Student Dialogue for Democracy” on Monday, February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Edgewood College (Predolin Humanities Building, Room 112).

Other event co-sponsors include Wisconsin Campus Compact, Edgewood College Human Issues Program, Madison Area Technical College Student Life and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Morgridge Center for Public Service.

The facilitated discussion will emphasize the importance of civic dialogue and shared perspectives in a healthy democracy. Breakout groups will provide direct experience with one form of democratic dialogue, as well as an opportunity to share ideas about the many other forms of civic dialogue and ways it can be achieved.

WDC Executive Director Mike McCabe will provide an introduction to the dialogue and Don Schutt, human resource development director for UW-Madison, will facilitate the discussion.

"A healthy democracy depends on reestablishing trust and confidence of citizens in our political process," WDC Advocacy Director Beverly Speer said. "Voter turnout is just one important measure of a healthy democracy. We must also build a broad understanding of other important forms of engagement and opportunities for participation."

Ann Dingman, community service coordinator for the Morgridge Center said, "Civic engagement efforts of campus organizations are as diverse as the campuses themselves. All such efforts, however, grow out of a strong commitment to encouraging students, faculty and staff to contribute beyond campus to the greater good of our communities."

Dean Pribbenow, director for the Human Issues Program at Edgewood College, further commented, "We are fortunate here in Madison that our institutions of higher education and many community-based organizations - sponsors of this event - each believe that one of their goals is to prepare students for active participation in democracy and civic life and to instill these values."