By Ben Morgan
Bio-Med offers multiple student-run organizations that provide our community with experience and education in real-world institutions. Some of the most crucial lessons students take away from school are those on civic responsibility and the structure of the real world. These lessons are taught by allowing students to participate in mockups of some of the most critical institutions in society: elected government and free journalism.
As Americans, we are given the freedom these institutions provide, but without a well-informed and engaged public, they cease to exist. While it may not levy taxes or regulate federal law before the eyes of the world, the opportunity to vote and experience representative democracy that student government provides is critical for the preparation of well-informed voters.
Similarly, school newspapers allow students to not only learn, but also participate in the journalistic process while simultaneously informing their fellow students about important happenings and ideas. These are formative experiences for students to have that will impact their view on the institutions of our society and their connections to them. At present, people’s faith in these columns of our culture is eroding.
According to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 53% of the eligible population turned out to vote in the 2018 elections, about a 12% increase from the last midterm. Similarly, the Knight Foundation reports that 69% of Americans state that they have lost faith in the media in the past decade. Perhaps the most distressing of these results comes from the Pew Research Center, which claims that only 40% of the U.S. population is satisfied with our democracy.
It is crucial, at this time perhaps more than ever before, to support these organizations which form the basis for hands-on education in the fields which we all rely on for the functioning of day-to-day life in a free country. If Generation Z is to have an informed and engaged electorate, we must aid and work with student democracy and news resources.