For many students, the struggle to be politically engaged stems not from a lack of interest, but rather an interest in topics specific to them that they struggle to find outlets for.
Recently, a sample of California Baptist University students were interviewed to express their involvement and interest in political news and social issues.
Their responses, varying from greatly engaged to nearly oblivious, were indicative of the general state of the world.
Like many other college-age adults, students at CBU recognize the need for political awareness, but many struggle to find means to make it a priority in their lives.
Sirena Garabedian, sophomore nursing major, said she and many students like her spend more time learning about news in their field of study, rather than with news that does not immediately effect their lives.
“I go to CNN and places like it for health and science news,” Garabedian said. “We (as a student body) are aware, and it’s something we need, but we don’t really make an effort to find national or international news.”
Similarly, students such as Delaney Kinne, junior liberal studies major, see the need for social and political news awareness. However, lack of time and normal interactions do not generally promote an environment conducive to pursuing the news.
“On a scale from one to 10, I would say (my political awareness) is at about a five,” Kinne said of her news involvement. “I wish I had more time to pay attention to the details of it. I think I could do a better job finding and keeping up with more than just my local news, but it’s hard to make that a priority.”
Generally, the interviewed students found that most of their news came from social media outlets rather than from personally pursuing the news; most of them also felt that they could make a greater effort to read, and find out more, about issues in modern politics, both nationally and abroad.
Jesus Brown, junior political science major, said most of the college-aged adults he knows are not nearly as engaged politically and that the best way to get people involved, even just on a college campus, would be to unite them around a common goal of becoming politically informed.
“It’s really hard to get people politically motivated unless it directly affects them,” Brown said. “Our generation is a politically apathetic one, and the best way to get people to pay attention is to force them to see what matters by calling them to action around a goal.”
A common thread with all of the interviewed students, however, was their recognition of the need to be more aware politically and a number of them had ideas on how to expand their knowledge.
Students recommended aiding awareness through distributing a LancerMail newsletter or force-feeding awareness through student body organizations and classes.
“Promoting what we know is important is key to getting people to pay attention,” said Alex Izaguirre, sophomore film major. “I would pay more attention if there was promotion, and I’m sure there are plenty of people like me.”