October 15, 2001----------- -:joseph.kunkel@mnsu.edu ------ --- --- Return to Mankato PA Welcome Page

University Student comments on democracy, citizenship, and politics

from the May 2001 final report assignment in Joe Kunkel's Political Science 381/Honors 450Honors Citizenship ,
This course is required for Social Studies majors at Minnesota State University,Mankato;

(Thanks to Harry Boyte for assembling these quotations)

The final report assignment:
1. In light of the course objectives discuss and evaluate both
a) What you experienced and learned about democracy, citizenship, politics and working in groups
b) What your Public Achievement team experienced and learned what went well/not so well.
2. A one page letter addressed to an MSU,M student who will be a PA coach next year

"First off, I learned something fundamental about democracy and that is democracy is only what we make it. No longer do I just sit back and let this crazy democratic machine roll by
--Female student/coach."

"The Public Achievement experience made me aware of my role as a citizen. Before Public Achievement I really did not understand the magnitude of the role I played in society. I was just another person going about my business, but I did not understand the changes that each one of us could make if we chose to be an active participant. I have always been very civic minded, participating in activities to enhance the community, [but] through PA the activities I participate in take on a new meaning".
--Female student/coach

This class has taught me so much, not only about government and how the world around us is run. We discussed Democracy and every one of the students could define the word. I feel like I could take on the world. I am so much more empowered to do things"
--Female student/coach

"Public Achievement reawakened my desire to be an active citizen. Democracy is not something to be taken for granted. I feel much more optimistic about my potential to influence others in my teaching career."
--Female student/coach

"After a few weeks in Public Achievement I realized that the meaning of democracy with which I was familiar was only a shadow of the true meaning"
--Female student/coach

"My interpretation of democracy [after this class] is that we have the freedom to create who and what we are without social boundaries stopping us"
--Male student/coach

On politics
"[Before] I had put my love of politics and being an active participant in political causes on the backburner and this experience definitely reawakened my passion for it. It made me reconsider and analyze the role of politics in American life. It also made me aware of how much influence a coach/teacher can have over a classroom. I definitely hope to implement democratic ways into my classroom."
--Female student/coach

"Working with my team brought out the true meaning of political concepts. I had never thought of power as being power over one ís self or the varying degrees of democracy."
--Male student/coach

"[Before] I learned about politics from a textbook. Public Achievement took learning of democracy to a whole new level. I learned that with democracy, power is definitely in the hands of the people."
--Male student/coach

"[Before] the idea of effecting change in our political system has always seemed like a pipe dream to me. I felt that one could push and push and nothing would change. There were many times when I felt like I was not very good at working with students, [but] for me the amazing thing is that I now have an interest in civic action."
--Male student/coach

"When we started out I did not figure that we would have to deal with politics. However, as the year went on everything turned into a political struggle. I could not believe how big a role politics played, even in a Middle School. I'm proud to say that the kids handled this all
themselves. I know exactly how big of a role politics will be playing as I enter the teaching world. --Male student/coach