College Civics Week in retrospect


College Civics Week promotes political involvement among BC students

Just last week, Bellevue College hosted several events organized by the Office of Student Legislative Affairs (OSLA) for College Civics Week. It started on Monday with the voter registration tent pitched right outside the C building. On Tuesday, Washington State’s Secretary of State Sam Reed paid a visit to BC and encouraged students to vote (see article on Sam Reed’s visit on page 1). On Wednesday, the movie “Berkeley in the Sixties” was shown in rooms C120 A and B by the cafeteria. Finally, Friday was the second voter registration day.

So what is College Civics Week? Many students have passed by and caught a glance of these events without knowing what they were. Usually the event is a yearly one that consists of the one day when Reed comes to speak at BC to promote political involvement among students. This year though, Organizing Director of OSLA, Monica Mendoza, took it to the next level.

“I want less apathy on campus” said Mendoza “especially during ASG [Associate Student Government] election times.”

“Monica had the great idea to do a College Civics Week” said OSLA Legislative Director Jake Atwell-Scrinver. “She came up with a list of events, one of those that start off kind of small and progressively get a little bit bigger.”

And the list did get bigger; in fact the whole event attracted a student turnout like no other year. On Monday, according to Atwell-Scrivner, the team at the registration tent was registering about five or six students to vote by the hour. It should be noted that the process takes up several minutes, time that not all students who are rushing to get from class to class are willing to give.

Not all Americans are registered to vote. According to the U.S Census Bureau, in 2008, 71 percent of voting-age citizens were registered to vote and that number is slightly lower than the 72 percent of 2004.

“It is critical that you do this; this year, you have so much at stake,” said Reed on Tuesday, referring to how much of an important year 2012 is for voters everywhere.

The movie event on Wednesday also attracted BC students despite how late in the day it was. “Berkeley in the Sixties” is a documentary that portrays how the students on Berkeley campus, back in the “hippie” era, peacefully protested against the War in Vietnam, and how their protests set whole new grounds for the future of freedom of speech in the nation.

Mendoza was the key organizer of the event, but she did have help.  “I couldn’t have done it without the help of Nora [Lance] and Jake [Atwell-Scrivner] and Tal [Lev].”

The event was funded by the budget that ASG sets aside for the OSLA program every year. OSLA is in fact a branch of the ASG.

“[College Civics Week] was a good start,” said Atwell-Scrivner, “kind of like a skeleton for the next OSLA to build on […] it lays the foundation for the next OSLA to pursue another Civics Week as opposed to just a Civics Day.”

Both OSLA directors are leaving BC next year. Mendoza is headed for the University of Washington, while Atwell-Scrivner is going to either the University of Oregon, or University of Massachusetts. This event will have been among their last.