Economics, violence in society, education, the refugee crisis and climate change are topics set to be addressed at Pierce College’s annual Town Hall on Friday, May 6.
The event is modeled after Cal State University Chico, who have been doing Town Hall for about ten years, according to assistant professor of Political Science and event coordinator Denise Robb. However, Chico only does the event for students majoring in Political Science.
At Pierce, the event is not limited to one major. With English, Psychology, Economics, Geography and Political Science, Pierce is the only college in the nation that has a multi-disciplinary Town Hall event. Professors are hoping the event remains successful with 397 students participating this semester.
Denise Robb, Kaycea Campbell, Marra Kraemer, Ray Lim and Jack Kranz are the five professors involved in the event this year. The professors meet regularly to make decisions pertaining to the Town Hall.
One of the first orders of business was which topics would be discussed at the event, and to involve students in a variety of issues. With five different topics to choose from, students are allowed to choose the issue subject matter they are most passionate about.
According to Robb, the main goal of this event is student success.
“Studies show that students that participate in this tend to do better, and that’s what our last year showed too. They tend to get better grades. They tend to graduate. They tend to transfer,” Robb said. “And they even sometimes get more involved and vote and involve in their communities.”
In addition to the event, Kraemer has developed a writing workshop specifically tailored for the research paper the students are required to write. Kraemer devotes time every Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for students participating in the event.
With a big group effort coming from all those involved, both professors and students alike are recognizing the importance of work beyond the classroom.
“Once the 45 minutes of lecture is over, it’s gone but students think about it more actively when they do it outside the classroom with events like this,” Economics professor Kaycea Campbell said.
According to this year’s student speaker Tanisha Saunders, the event is a learning experience that helps students realize they can make a difference. It helps them find their voice while also listening to other perspectives. It encourages students to take a stance and form their own opinions and solutions to many different issues.
“I think it’s a positive way to get students involved in creating solutions for current issues that are affecting the community and society,” Saunders said.