By Jennelle Pierce, staff writer-
With the current state of America’s politics, the polarized division of the country is often a topic of discussion on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus.
Though many agree that discourse between those who disagree politically is important, the task of bringing people together for civil conversation is largely believed to be a difficult and daunting task. However, this is part of what motivates the Political Science Club to host non-partisan events.
The week of February 17, 2020, the club is to host the first Poli-Sci event week. The events kicked off on Monday with a presentation from Free the Facts and will go on to include a talk with Tennessee Senator Bo Watson on Thursday. Following is a trip to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on Friday to train students of the club on promoting voter registration on campus.
Briana Brady, the club’s president, is passionate about bringing people together to promote the importance of education and voting efforts on campus as well as the Political Science Club itself. She is also a campus ambassador for Free the Facts, a non-partisan, non-profit located in Washington, D.C. and spent the summer at their intern program before inviting them to UTC to do a presentation on Social Security.
“The club is completely open to anyone on campus, you don’t have to be a partisan person or even know a lot about politics,” Brady said of the club. “The goal [this week] is just to educate people about not just the political science club but also the upcoming election.”
At Monday’s event, Free the Facts’ CEO and President, Dr. Lindsay Hayes, put a large emphasis on the organization’s commitment to being non-partisan. Their mission is to get the brightest minds thinking about the biggest problems.
“We like to say that we don’t tell you what to think, we just make sure you can,” she explained. “We want to get people ages 14-35 thinking about these issues early, so they’re prepared to make educated decisions.”
Brady explained that remaining non-partisan is important to increase participation in the current election. They, like Free the Facts, aim to educate students on campus and encourage them to make their own decisions, but most importantly to vote in all elections.
She said, “Over the course of this election year we’ll hopefully be more visible on campus, trying to increase absentee ballot awareness, general voter registration information like polling places, and all things related.”
The event featuring Senator Bo Watson is Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Derthick hall room 101 and is open to anyone as a co-sponsored event with the Save the Children Action Network.
For anyone interested in the Political Science Club, they meet every other Monday at 6:30 p.m.