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Hofstra Students Reap Rewards of Educate ’08 and the Presidential Debate

Michael LaFemina


Massapequa, N.Y.

lafemina

Pursuing M.S. Ed - Teaching English to Students of Other Languages
B.A. '07 Hofstra University Honors College double major in history and music
Center for Civic Engagement, Graduate Assistant
Student Affairs Committee, Chair
Progressive Students Union, Founder
Students for a Greener Hofstra

Democracy depends on the participation of its citizens. Voting is just one of the many ways we can contribute to our country; it is not the only way. I truly believe in the values of the first amendment, especially the rights to free speech and to peacefully assemble, because the power of democracy is the strength of its people. In these regards, knowledge is power and that is why the Educate '08 series is of incredible value to the Hofstra community: it empowers us so that we may be active, informed, and articulate participants in our democracy.”

The work I'm doing to organize voter registration drives is only increasing my appetite for civic participation and has made me consider being a researcher or an activist more than ever. It is with this in mind that some students and I have organized the Youth Issues Convention, which is going on in the days leading up to the debate. We'll be hosting information sessions, demonstrations around campus, petition drives, distributing information about youth issues, and organizing teach-ins with faculty. There is tremendous potential in the youth of this country, but until we are excited by politics, we will unfortunately remain passive. We need inspiration. We need focus.

Educate '08 events have been doing just that - exciting, informing, and empowering students and the greater community to be more active in the political process. These events spark our interest and incite discussions amongst students and faculty. All over campus, students are asking questions and demanding answers, whether in their seminars or at the dinner table. This is exciting. As we converse about events, it leads us into debates about issues. Through these dialogues we explore our ideas, opinions, and experiences, sharing them with one another to build knowledge, strengthen our understanding, and develop our ability to reason. This is why I consider dialogue to be one of our greatest tools in developing an engaged citizenry and a testament to our rights as Americans - without free speech or the right to assemble, we would have no democracy.

Meet Other Students Involved with Debate '08

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