Students encouraged to participate in Civic Engagement Survey

Oct 31, 2022 | General News, Liberal Arts, Students

Louisiana Tech University students are embarking on a project to increase student civic engagement both on campus and in the community.

Students (left to right) Grant Gillespie, Julie Cupples, and Ethan Jeffus presented the civic engagement proposal they developed to Tech President Dr. Les Guice.

Now through the end of the quarter, student members of the Civic Engagement Survey Team will be recruiting fellow Louisiana Tech students to participate in a survey measuring their current amount of civic participation, civic knowledge, and interest in local government and community engagement. After analyzing these data, students will report on their findings to Louisiana Tech leadership with the intent of creating a University-wide plan to increase student civic engagement.

The project started in the spring quarter when students in the Political Science course “Representation, Identity, and Community” were challenged to apply theories and concepts from the course to improve student civic and community engagement.

“Tech is well known for its community outreach,” said Dr. William O’Brochta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, who taught the course and is leading the survey team. “But in order to make positive community change, students need to learn to be civically engaged including voting, interacting with local government officials and offices, and analyzing policies and problems with the intent of making our community better. That’s the purpose of the students’ project and the broader civic engagement initiative it has started.”

Over the summer, students presented their civic engagement proposal to Tech President Dr. Les Guice. The proposal called for beginning the project by collecting data about current student civic and community engagement on campus to inform civic engagement programming. The student team will then help organize focus groups with other Tech students to brainstorm ideas about increasing civic engagement on campus.

Tech has also recently joined Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, a program that provides member institutions with data on aggregate student voter registration and voting rates.

Oct. 19, Civic Engagement Survey Team members began recruitment efforts across campus.

“Not only will the survey ultimately benefit students through University initiatives to increase student civic engagement, but also students on the survey team are learning about survey design and canvassing techniques,” said Dr. Jeremy Mhire, Joe D. Waggonner Professor of Political Science and Director of Tech’s Waggonner Center for Civic Engagement and Public Policy. “This project is an example of the many experiential learning opportunities the School of History and Social Science uses to connect and engage with students.”

Students are encouraged to complete the survey by Nov. 17 and to be on the lookout for more ways to get involved with developing the plan to increase civic engagement.