This is the third year of having such programs. Last year’s Hamilton council meeting on campus featured an overflow crowd, because residents whose basements had recently been flooded turned out to express their concerns and urge city leaders to help solve the ongoing problem.
“The reaction’s been very positive” from participants, Forren said. “Not only positive reaction as in they enjoyed it and they have a better understanding of how these things work, but actually we’ve done a little bit of research on the effects of participating.”
According to Forren, there is research that when someone witnesses government in action, or attends a government meeting, they are more likely to be more active citizens.
Last year’s participants in a survey “said that they’re more likely to vote now, more likely to go to government meetings and contact their elected officials, and do those things that are a part of active citizenship,” he said.
“As a public university, we see it as part of our mission to try to increase public participation and civic engagement,” Forren said.