Debating for Democracy
About Debating for Democracy
D4D is a distinctive campus-based co-curricular program that represents the mission of Project Pericles in action. As a member of Project Pericles, Pitzer College has the unique opportunity to participate in the Periclean annual “Debating for Democracy” conference, happening March 21st-22nd, 2013 at The New School in New York City. This national conference brings together student representatives from all 30 Periclean campuses to participate in a series of educational activities with leading figures in civic engagement, education, environment, politics, public policy, and social entrepreneurship. A highlight of the conference is the D4D legislative hearing in which students present and defend public policy letters they have written to current and former elected officials. If chosen to represent Pitzer at this conference, all student travel and accommodation costs will be covered!
Featured 2012-2013 Finalist
Allison Donine and Amelia Haselkorn
Amelia Haselkorn and Allison Donine, are among the sixty plus student leaders and activists that will travel to New York City to participate in the Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference. The two day conference features panels and workshops with leading experts on topics including: building advocacy campaigns, civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, and public policy – all designed to give students the tools they need to effectively advocate for causes they are passionate about.
The D4D National Conference is sponsored by Project Pericles – a consortium of 29 colleges and universities committed to including social responsibility and participatory citizenship as essential elements of their educational programs.
Rajeev Goyal, author of The Springs of Namje: A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress and director of Push for Peace Corps, will deliver the keynote address.
The National Conference also features a Legislative Hearing in which teams of students from different Periclean colleges and universities compete for $5,000 in prize money that they can use to develop advocacy and educational campaigns around their issues. Teams will present their ideas for addressing some of the most important public policy issues facing the United States to a panel of former government officials: U.S. Representative Thomas Downey; U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Constance Berry Newman; Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland Kurt L. Schmoke; and U.S. Senator Harris L. Wofford.
All participating students wrote and sent letters to their elected officials on topics including Assault Weapons Ban, Environmental Issues, Immigration Reform, and the Violence Against Women Act. Students use lessons from the conference to further their advocacy work.
Amelia Haselkorn and Allison Donine wrote a letter to Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate Minority Whip, in support of S.7- The Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act. This act would confirm a sentiment of the Senate to reduce the risk of major damage from weather related disasters in two important ways: first, by supporting coordination among Federal and local response entities and, second, by encouraging clean energy technologies that reduce pollution and the increased risk of extreme weather events that this can cause. While neither Amelia nor Allison is from Texas, they chose to write to Senator Cornyn because, as a leader in energy policy and a Republican from a major oil producing State, his support would make a major difference. Also, given the long coastline of Texas with the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Cornyn is well aware of the disruption that extreme weather events like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy can cause. While the bill does not specifically mention the term “climate change,” Amelia and Allison hope this effort can be a first step towards acknowledging and addressing the potential long-term impacts of pollution on the global environment.
The conference will be held on March 21-22 at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts and is made possible through the generous support of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
Student Participant Service Biographies
In 2012 Amelia went on a service trip to New Orleans where she and a group did community work in the 9th Ward and other neighborhoods. The neighborhoods had been harshly affected by Hurricane Katrina and have since had little support. From this experience, she came to realize the severity of devastations that can come from extreme weather and unpreparedness. Prior to attending Pitzer, Amelia served as a campaign worker for the newly elected Washington State Representative, Gael Tarleton. This experience identified the importance of an informed electorate and exercising the right to vote. At Pitzer, Amelia has served as an English as a Second Language tutor for Day Laborers in Pomona. This past Fall she performed in the Scripps/Pomona Fall Dance Show. Amelia also enjoys playing alongside her teammates on the 5-College travelling ultimate frisbee team, the Greenshirts.
Over the past summer, Allison participated in an internship with the non-profit organization, Michelle’s Place, A Breast Cancer Resource Center. This experience led to her interest in the field of environmental health and how environmental elements can contribute to the increase in certain types of cancers in communities. At Pitzer, Allison is a member of the Ontario Real Food Project, working to bring healthy, local, and affordable produce to the City of Ontario by building relationships between local farmers and storeowners. Allison is an active member in the Claremont Colleges Divestment Team, a member of the Youth Coalition for Community Action and a tutor with the Upward Bound Program on Harvey Mudd’s Campus.
Submitting the letters
The due date for the letters to the Pitzer D4D Program Director (CEC's Tricia Morgan) was January 30, 2013. Five of these letters from five different colleges will be selected for the 2013 Legislative Hearing based on the quality of their letter.
Selecting the Pitzer Delegates
Two students from each Periclean campus will be selected to attend the conference by their Program Director based on their leadership and contribution to civic engagement activities on their campus. The delegates must be freshmen, sophomores, or juniors who are full-time undergraduates at Pitzer and will be returning to their campus for the 2013-14 year. Colleges will send the names of their two student delegates to Project Pericles by Tuesday, February 5. Project Pericles will pay for the transportation, hotel, and meals for the two student delegates.
*Project Pericles has added three new guidelines for participation:
1) No student who participated in a previous D4D National Conference can be selected as a student delegate unless their letter to an elected official is selected for the legislative hearing.
2) Student delegates who presented in a previous legislative hearing cannot be chosen as student delegates or submit a letter to an elected official.
3) No student can co-author more than one letter.
Being Selected for the Legislative Hearing
Ten students (the two lead students for the five finalist letters) will be selected by Project Pericles to participate in the Legislative Hearing and attend the conference. The five colleges selected to participate in the Legislative Hearing will therefore bring four students to the conference (the two students selected by the CEC Steering Committee and the additional two letter writers selected for the Legislative Hearing by Project Pericles).
To get involved or for more information contact
D4D at Pitzer Program Director