College Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day Four: June 14, 2016
Reported by Summer Joi Peebles, Old Dominion University
One by one, we all marched up a mountain of staircases to make our way to class.
We began the morning by finishing our previous discussion of the differences between the geographic areas of Virginia. Though each geographic area is different from the others and specializes in different industries, it was interesting to learn how the sea ports in Hampton Roads affected distribution centers in the Valley that were then sent to stores in Northern Virginia, and how commerce can be used as a means to connect areas of Virginia that would not be connected otherwise.
After breaking for lunch and eating delicious sandwiches from Jason's Deli, it was time for Felisha to introduce our speaker of the day, executive director of Virginia21, Jared Calfee. Jared shared with us information about Virginia21, an organization whose mission is to engage college students from public, private and community colleges, to get involved in politics in their local community as make sure that their voices and concerns are heard at the State Capitol. Since many classmates hadn't heard of Virginia21, there were many poignant questions asked during the following question and answer session. We were all very grateful that he came and brought a new perspective of student civic engagement to the classroom.
For our last session of the day, we began our discussion of our assigned readings of the political history of Virginia. We discussed the rise and fall of the Byrd machine in the twentieth century and began discussion of the rise of the Republican Party in Virginia, when the conversation started to digress into a passionate discussion about the variances in levels of voter participation at the local, state and federal level. Though the discussion was passionate, everyone kept their cool and was able to have a mature discussion, considering many different perspectives on how to improve voter turnout.
After a muggy walk back to our dorms, we were treated to wings from Harvest Moon. Enjoying the free time we had left, many went to the lawn to play Ultimate Frisbee while others stayed in to play card games, cherishing the last few hours of sunlight before heading to bed early to prepare for tomorrow's field trip to Green Rock Correctional Center.