Participants in the multi-departmental Town Hall at Pierce College will meet on Friday, May 1, where students will present research and propose solutions to a range of social issues.
Since the start of the semester, 500 students from the English, anthropology, geography, political science and criminal justice departments, among others, have conducted research and written papers about the Town Hall topics. The six issues chosen for the event are immigration, climate change, gender inequality, homelessness, criminal justice and mental health.
English professor Marra Kraemer has prepared two English 101 classes and one English 202 class to participate in the Town Hall event. Kraemer’s students were assigned to choose from the topics of gender inequality, homelessness or immigration.
“My classes have been doing research along with discussing and performing mock debates about each of their topics,” Kraemer said.
Business administration major and ASO Treasurer-elect Roxanne Keramati will participate in the event as part of a political science class. She said she has thoroughly researched the topic of criminal justice with a specific focus on racial profiling.
“We turned in a five-page paper of a bill that had to do with the issue that we addressed,” Keramati said. “And essentially, we just research the bill and see what we can do to possibly help that specific issue.”
Keramati said her research has been intense and time-consuming but has made her excited for the event.
“The great thing about the Town Hall is that we will have a lot of professionals working with the students,” she said. “There’s the opportunity that students who come up with the great ideas are able to voice their opinions and put their ideas out there.”
ASO Treasurer Michael McGee assisted associate professor of political science and Town Hall organizer Denise Robb in creating the Town Hall Facebook page to publicize the event. He posted links to articles, current events and podcasts on the page to help students research their topics.
“I’m now finishing up the Town Hall website and entering the bios of each of the experts participating,” McGee said. “Many of them are Pierce faculty, as well as Pierce alumni in the field.”
McGee said the preparation and collaboration with Robb has made him optimistic about the event.
“I look forward to all the great research and ideas of the students, and the success that comes with it,” McGee said.
Kraemer believes the event is of critical importance and would like to see the Town Hall continued in the future.
“I really hope it can be an annual thing,” Kraemer said. “I think it’s really important for the student body, and it’s a good way for students to start flexing their American democratic citizen muscles and start thinking about how they themselves can change the world.”
The Town Hall will be held in the Great Hall on Friday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.