CSU, Chico News

Hundreds of Students Lead Discussions at Town Hall Meeting

Date: 11-08-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico students will lead discussions on issues ranging from Wall Street regulation to student safety at a town hall meeting Thursday, Nov. 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium and other locations on the CSU, Chico campus.

CSU, Chico’s Town Hall Meeting Program, started in 2006, helps students understand their role in government and the political process. The program encourages students to engage in issues of importance to them and gives them the tools to be a more complete and effective part of society in the future.

Ellie Clifford Ertle, faculty coordinator of the Town Hall Meeting Program, said approximately 600 students enrolled in American Government, Political Science 155, along with community and campus members, are expected to take part in discussions during breakout sessions. Students lead and participate in the talks as part of classroom projects.

Other topics to be discussed include California prison overcrowding, reducing unemployment, how to prevent human trafficking in the United States, how to provide services for veterans, addressing conflicting state and federal marijuana policy, reducing carbon emissions, curriculum and teaching in K-12 education, how to fund California higher education, tangible solutions for the California budget crisis, the U.S. budget, debt, taxes and spending, U.S. defense spending and how to provide access to health care for more Americans.

The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Please call 898-3705 for more information.

Through a series of course assignments, the students study an important policy issue they have selected by conducting research. At the Town Hall, the students meet in breakout sessions of 20-25 people with other students who have studied the same issue, community members and faculty.

Students present a brief policy problem at the Town Hall meeting and suggest a policy solution that is both desirable and possible. Consultants from the community meet with the students to consider ways to advocate for solutions. Ertle said past or present consultants include City Council members, political activists, nonprofit advocates, educators and graduate students.

The Town Hall meeting is an important feature of CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience Program, which is designed to help first-year students succeed academically and socially, and make a smooth transition to university life.