Power to the StudentsGAMBIER, Ohio (August 21, 2006) Can liberals and conservatives work together to achieve common goals? Norman Kaufmann, Class of 2007, and Matthew Segal, Class of 2008, are proof that they can. The two were among the Kenyon representatives at the inaugural Roosevelt Policy Expo in Washington, D.C., on August 1-3. The expo, which is sponsored by the nonpartisan Roosevelt Institution, drew hundreds of students from forty-eight of the fifty states, Segal said.
Out of ten presentations at the expo, two were given by Kenyon students. Andrew Hammack, Class of 2006, presented his senior thesis on neoliberal strategy for U.S.-China relations. Kaufmann and Segal presented their bipartisan proposal for voting reform, which grew out of the problems that plagued Gambier, Ohio-and hundreds of Kenyon students-on Election Day 2004.
For many college students, the 2004 election was their first chance to vote. In Gambier, that civic duty turned into an eleven-hour marathon. But across the country, students concerned about the integrity of the political process realized that they needed help to make their voices heard.
The Roosevelt Institution, the first student think tank, was born out of that need. Beginning as a single chapter at Stanford University in 2005, the organization has spread to 46 chapters in colleges and universities across the country, including one at Kenyon. The Kenyon College Roosevelt Institution chapter publishes its own on-campus magazine, The Gambier Hill, as well as the Ohio Roosevelt Review and the National Roosevelt Review.
"Norm did an excellent job of showing that liberals and conservatives can come together and transcend their ideologies for the sake of the most symbolic democratic act: casting a ballot," said Segal. "This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue; this is a people's issue. It's not going away in 2006, not in 2008, unless there are major changes. Our goal is to continue to push for reform, to demonstrate to our peers and both parties that this is an issue that needs serious attention."
For more information about the KCRI, go to http://kenyon.rooseveltinstitution.org .