Event empowers students through political education

WKU graduate Austin Wingate, from Elizabethtown talks with junior Darius Fields from Lexington at the Understanding Politics Forum on Feb. 20, 2017 in DSU.

Rebekah Alvey

Students gathered in Downing Student Union Monday to discuss and to get a better sense of politics. As a part of the events for Black History Month, Power UP: Understanding Politics Forum was focused on issues from the recent Presidential election. 

The program began by asking students to imagine what they would do differently if they were in certain positions of power. From this, faculty began to define politics and why students should be involved.

“You can’t act if you don’t know,” Intercultural Student Engagement Center Program Coordinator Kristina Gamble said. This was a phrase she tried to emphasize throughout the program. Gamble led the majority of the discussions and repeatedly posed questions to students.

With all of the recent events hosted by ISEC and other organizations this month, education has always played an important role, Gamble said. The goal was for each event to hit on a different medium, this event being political while others like the Black Violin performance, are more art based.

Throughout the rest of the program, Gamble showed students demographics inside the Bowling Green community and on WKU campus. She asked students to compare this information with the representation seen in leadership like the Board of Regents.

Gamble explained to students “it’s important to have your seat at the table so your voice is heard.”

Students were then asked to identify the biggest issue they face right now. Responses varied from immigration issues to public education funding.

Sophomore Michaela Carter discussed how funding for education has decreased and said there was a lack of diversity scholarships.

This turned into a discussion of how politics play out in the classroom for minority students.

“Politics do play a role in our everyday life,” Gamble said.

Once discussions ended, representatives from the Student Government Association, Young Republicans, the Honors College, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, ISEC and NPHC presented ways students could speak out through their organizations and be empowered.

Gamble said events like this can make an impact on students. She originally went to WKU as an undergraduate from 2005 to 2009. In comparison to her time as a student, she said students are recognizing power more.

“Today in 2017, we are getting a larger crowd of students that can make a difference, just need direction,” Gamble said.

Junior Autumn Johnson was vocal during the discussions and said “a lot of the same people are here and are trying to work toward a similar goal.”

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]