CWU Civics Week

Ben Ramirez, Scene Reporter

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College Civics Week aims to bring everyone’s beliefs to one safe space and to be an event for students to get to know the opinions of their friends and learn how to be locally active

College Civics Week will begin on May 1 in the SURC. This is an event where students will have the opportunity to listen to prominent members in local government, as well as learn how to get involved with various organizations to volunteer and make a difference in the community.

“It’s about bringing more student engagement,” Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs J.R. Siperly said. “Without student engagement and an active community, how are you expected to change the community without putting your input in it?”

Community Engagement Day will kick off the week. This is the day for local organizations to introduce themselves to students. Organizations from local elementary and high schools, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, will be tabling and looking for volunteers in the SURC. This is a chance for students who want to be involved or need community service hours to get in contact with programs where they can work with kids and give back to the community. At noon, a performance by Jazz Guitarist Eric E. will begin on the SURC Bridge. The Clubs and Equality Service Council (ESC) Olympics will start at 4 p.m. on the East Patio. There will be a competition between members of Clubs and Organizations and members of ESC. The Olympics will consist of events like the 100 meter dash with inflatable sumo wrestling suits and an inflatable obstacle course.

Tuesday of Civics Week is Constitution Day where students can learn about the U.S. Constitution and their rights. The day will start with a Presentation of Colors at 10 a.m. on the SURC East Patio by the members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). ROTC Cadets will hand out pocket Constitutions to students and inform them of their rights. There will also be a Freedom Wall in the SURC where students will be able to express their 1st Amendment rights and write about anything and everything that is on their minds.

Local and State Government Day is when officials from the state and city government will come to CWU to talk to students. At 3 p.m., Bruce Tabb and Mary Morgan, members of the Ellensburg City Council, along with Mayor Rich Elliot, will do a speaker panel. At 4:30 p.m., Seattle Executive Director Dow Constantine will give a keynote speech.

“I think it is cool that we will get a chance to talk directly with the people who make decisions for Ellensburg and ask them whatever we want,” said Justin Moser, a freshman elementary education major.

To close out the day, Washington State Hispanic Outreach Coordinator Lisa Van Duret will give a keynote speech about the importance of having diverse views and how minorities can get more engaged with politics.

Siperly is shocked at how few people of color are in the state Senate and believes that if minorities want their voice heard, they should learn how to be more active in local and state government. According to him, Van Duret will discuss ways that this can be achieved.

Finishing the week will be Community Unity Day, which will be a day to combat racism and bring the community together at CWU. A Diversity Hand Print Wall in the SURC will allow students to paint their hand’s different colors and press them against the wall to represent the diversity on campus. At 2 p.m. Eric Davis, a professor at Bellevue College, will be giving a speech about how to become a better community activist. Davis will also be giving a closing remarks keynote speech at 5 p.m., in which he will discuss how to be civically engaged and how students can make a difference.

“Ellensburg has had trouble with the KKK and racism recently, so I am glad that as a college we are doing something to fight against the hate,” said Trevor Harman, a freshman mechanical engineering major.

Siperly wants students to know that this is a week meant to put politics aside and focus solely on bringing people together to make Ellensburg a welcoming environment.

“Civics week isn’t just to be political,” Siperly said, “It’s to provide you with opportunities [to volunteer], as well as educational opportunities to get you better involved as well as better educated on some of these political party systems.”

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CWU Civics Week