From President Finegold: Our mission - Citizenship
Dear Chatham Students, Faculty & Staff,
Chatham’s mission declares: “…Chatham prepares its graduates to be informed and engaged citizens in their communities.” Today, on the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania for the upcoming mid-term election, this aspect of our mission is more critical than ever. These two sobering statistics truly illustrate why:
Only 57% of eligible U.S. voters voted in the last presidential election in 2016
Only 18% of college students voted in the last mid-term election in 2014
The sad reality today is that too many—especially young people—do not vote in our country. Coupled with the fact that the number of people under the age of 34 has now surpassed those age 50 and older, choosing to not vote leaves the decisions directly impacting the issues that matter to your future to others.
At the same time, our commitment to women’s leadership and gender equity through the work of our Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics is more important than ever this year. Pennsylvania is currently one of 11 states with no women serving in the U.S. Congress. However, there are a record 118 Pennsylvania women running for state office and eight women running for U.S. Congress in the upcoming election. This trend is echoed across the country with a record 256 women having won U.S. House and Senate primaries so far. Contact the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics for more information and resources about women candidates (from both parties) running in this year’s election.
Finally, being an informed and engaged citizen also means working to improve our local community on more than just election day. At Chatham, you can find numerous opportunities to become engaged with projects and organizations that are making a difference in our community every day. Just a few examples include:
Leadership & Civic Engagement programs (i.e., Bonner Leaders) offered by the Office of Student Engagement
The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows program open to graduate students
The Homewood Community Partnership Project in the Falk School
Whatever your interest and passion, I encourage you to find a way to make a difference both while you are here at Chatham and after you graduate.
Finally, if you haven’t registered to vote yet, you still have time today. Please visit www.votespa.com or contact the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics for additional information and resources.
This is the third in a series of posts on what Chatham’s mission and values have meant, and still mean, for the University community. You can read the previous ones in the series on “respect for diversity of culture, identity and opinion” and on “living more sustainability” on the Pulse@Chatham website. – David