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Democracy Symposium Enhancing First Year Experience at D&E
Written by Lindsey Burnworth
Last updated on January 18, 2013 @ 7:18PM
Created on January 18, 2013 @ 5:36PM
 
A new program at Davis and Elkins College is bringing first year students together to learn more about democracy.
 
The three week symposium allows the students to immerse themselves in the democratic process, all while getting class credit.

Students don't just sit through lectures in this class, they participate in it as well. On Friday, they held a mock state legislative session to see how the government really works.

The symposium focuses on three goals, understanding issues related to democracy, including it's history, strengthening citizenship and leadership abilities, and finally, preparing students for future civic engagements.
 
About 150 students are doing this through lectures, panel discussions, and group projects.
 
The three week course will end when students travel to Charleston to learn more about the state's government at the Capitol.
 
Administrators said this is an important course for first year students because it teaches them things they can't just learn in a classroom.
 
"There was a report published by the Department of Education just this past summer that really raised concerns about citizenship and civic engagement among young people today, so we thought this is a way to answer that, and challenge really, and we've been working on this for more than a year, trying to figure out how to put it together," said Joseph Roidt, Vice President of Academic Affairs at D&E.
 
Students also said they like doing the symposium because it shows them that they have to compromise and figure out what's best for everyone.
 
"In the government class, you're getting the theory, so it's like a music theory class. You're learning how things work, but you're not seeing it work. This is like putting the orchestra together. You're seeing it work, and you're seeing how you have to pull and tug and how you have a lot of interests affecting your decisions, and how to balance your personal opinion with the opinion of your constituents and the people you work with," said Andrew Carroll, a first year D&E student.
 
The students will travel to Charleston on Tuesday.

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