A Danville native, Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth Traci DeShazor, recently held an open panel discussion about millennial civic engagement at Radford University.
The panel consisted of Radford University students, and the discussion was held Wednesday, October 4 in Heth Hall. Radford University Student Representative Colleen McNickle accompanied Traci DeShazor in leading the panel discussion.
DeShazor who is the second local appointment to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration categorizes herself to the panel as a millennial. DeShazor immediately created an open setting allowing the board to engage in the discussion comfortably. DeShazor having recently graduated from Virginia Tech University connected to students by using personal examples of challenges students face about civic engagement.
The first topic DeShazor discussed with the panel covered voter registration, “It’s hard to distinguish which address college students should use when registering to vote” DeShazor said. “Do students use their college addresses or their hometown address?”
Student’s responses of which address they are registered to vote at brought up another question for discussion, “Is it a challenge which community students should be informed about or is there a bubble that exists on college campuses inhibiting the community engagement,” DeShazor asks.
DeShazor asking the panel of Radford students exactly how civically engaged they are within the Radford community then followed this question DeShazor presented.
The panel of students responded by explaining in which ways they are engaged to the Radford community. Some of the student’s responses included students working with Radford’s local elementary schools and soup kitchens as well as cleaning up garbage around the school.
This discussion eventually led to DeShazor emphasizing why students should follow local elections around the Radford community. “Students who are civically involved typically feel a better engagement within the Radford community,” DeShazor said. “These issues around the community are important to be informed about and to vote for.”
Throughout the entire panel discussion, DeShazor was writing students responses to topics she presented in her journal. DeShazor explained to the panel of students that all of the input students were giving her was going to be relayed back to the roundtable. All of the student’s feedback is then taken back to the roundtable with the goal of making voter registration as user-friendly as possible for students at Universities
Furthermore, other topics covered and discussed throughout panel discussion included challenges students experienced with absentee ballots, how students voted when they were studying abroad, students transportation to the polls and how to ensure all students become more civically involved within the community.
DeShazor wrapped up the panel discussion on the topic of mail on campus, “It’s important for universities to make the mail process through the school transparent,” DeShazor said. “It’s important for students to know the mailing process on campuses takes longer, they need to be more proactive to make sure their votes are sent in time and counted.” DeShazor ended the meeting thanking the discussion panel for all of their cooperation and feedback.