From the President’s Pen

Now that we are fortunate enough to be past the pandemic, the Institute is excited to be back to our full programming capabilities, and we are taking full advantage! This spring and summer we have been busier than ever!

On April 12th we were delighted to take a Congressional Student Forum in person to a campus we have not been to before – the University of Houston, Clear Lake. U.S. Representatives Sylvia Garcia (D) and Randy Weber (R) joined us as we met with 86 students and faculty members. This was the fourth forum Randy Weber has participated in with us, and the second one for Sylvia Garcia. The fact that members of Congress like to repeat the experience speaks to its value and the opportunity it provides for them to model collegiality and respect even in the midst of their differing political philosophies, all while engaging with students from their congressional districts.

And engage they did! Students are invited to ask whatever they like as long as they maintain civility, and questions are not screened in advance. Some of the topics they touched on this time included abortion rights, misconceptions of critical race theory, gun violence, police reform, racism, anti-trans movements, the state takeover of the Houston Independent School District, and cryptocurrency. Students also wanted to know what drew the members of Congress into politics in the first place and how they got started.

A few long-time supporters of the Institute were also able to attend:

We really enjoyed listening to the two Congressional Representatives with contrasting viewpoints. We especially liked hearing the students’ questions and seeing how interested they were. The Institute is doing good work!

Carolyn Feigh

It was refreshing to see civility in the room amongst everyone who attended. These forums are awesome opportunities for students to learn about civility.

Carla Yager

We look forward to continuing to expand our efforts to make more Congressional Student Forums possible. And remember: we cannot do it without you! Thank you so much for your support!

– Cassandra Dahnke, President & Co-founder, Institute for Civility

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