“Many people are dreading this year’s election,” says Dr. Richard Davis, director of BYU’s Office of Civic Engagement. “Even though this presidential election has more high profile candidates than any election in the last century, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the choices.” The ability to vote can perhaps feel more like a burden than a privilege, but there are many benefits of voting, both to the country as a whole, local government, and the voters themselves. In fact, voting is associated with better social connections, health outcomes, and lower unemployment, according to Nonprofitvote.org.
If you want to be involved, but worry that you don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to make a difference, know that you don’t have to fix all the problems, but your help is needed to improve in your sphere of influence. Next week, Provo’s mayor, police chief, and economics director will come to campus to hold a panel on how Provo residents—students and otherwise—can get involved. The discussion is hosted by the Office of Civic Engagement, an FHSS entity.
Mayor John Curtis is known as a problem-solver. He has been in office since 2010. He started a blog, the Provo Insider, which he manages as a way to stay connected to the residents. Mayor Curtis also serves on a number of advisory and community boards. He says, “Our residents are what make Provo great, not our government.”
Police Chief John King started leading the force in 2013. He is dedicated to protecting the community and doing it in a respectful, honest, and excellent way.
Economic Director Scott Bowles recently said of BYU students: “These people get it. They are learning that in the university’s motto of ‘The World is Our Campus,’ Provo is included in that world.”
“BYU [does have] a unique capability to help students incorporate public service into their lives,” says the mission of the Civic Engagement Office. “BYU’s motto is ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.’ The university educates tens of thousands of students who then go out into the world. These alumni, if motivated and adequately trained, can be effective forces in providing leadership in helping better their individual communities, states, and nations.”
Bring your questions to this panel. The discussion will also be an opportunity for you to ask them.
What challenges keep you from being locally involved?