CSU, Chico News

Students Focus on Controversial Topics at Spring 2011 Town Hall Meeting

Date: 04-12-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico students will lead discussions on issues ranging from prison overcrowding to the state budget crisis at a town hall meeting Thursday, April 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium 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 600-650 students in political science classes, 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.

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

“The Town Hall Meeting Program is a great opportunity to connect what students learn about in the classroom with what they will experience in the world outside of college,” said Charles Turner, chair of the Department of Political Science. “It's a chance to practice being civically engaged with leaders from our community. This is something students will be doing the rest of their lives, so the sooner they start and the more experience they have at this, the more effective their voices will be. I'm proud that our department can share its expertise in this positive direction.”

Some of the topics to be discussed at the April 28 Town Hall include California water policy, mental health and the military, gun control, reducing carbon emissions and U.S. immigration policy.

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. Students will also begin to prepare an action plan outlining possible next steps for themselves and others to impact the future course of their policy issue.

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.