A Publication of WTVP

The first time many are eligible to vote, Bradley students are gearing up for the 2012 elections through on-campus civic events.

With the 2012 presidential elections just days away, Bradley University has been actively promoting civic engagement during the fall semester. We are hoping that Bradley’s campus will be a leader among universities nationally in student involvement in our democratic process. To that end, here are some of the activities our students have participated in.

Campaign & Legislative Internship Expo
On August 26th, we invited congressional, state and local candidates to an expo where they were able to interact with Bradley students and get them to sign up to volunteer to work on fall campaigns. Congressman Schilling, Cheri Bustos, Senator Dave Koehler, Pat Sullivan and many others’ campaigns were able to sign up numerous students to help walk precincts, put up yard signs, make phone calls and walk in parades. Additionally, State Representative Mike Unes and Congressman Aaron Schock had several Bradley students apply for legislative internships in their offices. This great experiential learning event was co-sponsored by the Smith Career Center, the Political Science Department and the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service (IPL).

Engaged Youth Rally
On October 4th, IPL, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and the Bradley University College Democrats and College Republicans held a youth rally at Renaissance Coliseum to inspire civic engagement in the upcoming election. Significantly, large numbers of students registered to vote. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon urged the students to take their civic duty of voting seriously, and then jumped on stage with her band Loose Gravel to play some great bluegrass music. Student Senate President Alan Buckingolts and speech team members Brooke Stevenson and Jacoby Cochran inspired their generation, with humor and passion, to let their voices be heard at the ballot box. Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain and Peoria County Board members Mary Ardapple and Jimmy Dillon also spoke to the students about getting involved in their communities at a young age.

17th Congressional District Debate
On October 25th, IPL, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and WTVP co-hosted a congressional debate between Cheri Bustos and Bobby Schilling, which was picked as the eighth hottest congressional race in the entire country.

The students who attended the debate were able to submit questions that were asked by IPL intern Camille Ivy-O’Donnell, a senior public relations major at Bradley. This debate was aired over public television and radio, not only in the Peoria area, but also in the Quad Cities and Rockford, and C-Span covered the debate live to a national audience.

Lydia Moss Bradley, the founder of Bradley University, once stated: “I expect this school to stand as long as the government stands, and I want every young man and woman who goes forth from it to be a lover of their government and be ready and able to sustain it… Our school teaches useful knowledge, practical knowledge.” On November 6th, Bradley students will hopefully lead the way in being informed voters, fulfilling their civic duty in our great American democracy. iBi