Since arriving on campus in September, students enrolled in “Generation on the Rise,” an honors course in the University of Hartford’s Hillyer College, followed politics and the presidential election closely. The course is about millennials and political activism and the students followed campaign news and watched debates to learn about the candidates’ platforms and policies.
After the third presidential debate, this is what some of them had to say:
“Our generation feels like the candidates are not taking it seriously by constantly bickering and not getting to what they want to do if they get elected,” says Myeisha Boyd ‘17, a politics and government major from Danbury, Conn.
Myeisha feels that most of the media coverage and the debates were about “locker room talk” and emails. She would have liked the candidates to talk about issues that are important to young adults.
Bilal Sekou, associate professor of political science in Hillyer teaches the course. He says “Some of the things millennials really care about such as the environment, the rising cost of higher education, police brutality, and racism have not gotten a fair hearing.”
During the course, students discussed the effectiveness of each candidate and how they could appeal more to young adults.
“Millennials are engaged in politics in a different way than other generations,” Sekou says. “To connect with young adults, candidates must not only be active on social media, but must talk about policies that matter to young adults in a creative and interesting way."
To increase political involvement among young adults on campus, students in the class organized viewing parties to watch two of the presidential debates and invited friends and classmates through social media. The gatherings were well attended and received news coverage.
As the election nears and the end of the semester comes, Sekou says, “My hope is that this class helps students to see that politics really matter.”