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 ,
(Thanks to Harry Boyte for assembling these quotations)
The final report assignment:
"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
"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".
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"
"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."
"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"
"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."
"[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."