Graham Center focuses on civic engagement

Published: February 16th, 2010

Category: Announcements, InsideUF, Voices Column

In 2008, Florida ranked 34th in voter turnout. Some 70 percent of Floridians report cutting back on civic activities in the past year. Our state faces a civic crisis.

At the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, these statistics caused us to ask what contribution our university is making to prepare students for active citizenship. In addition to the excellent education provided, are we specifically training students to become the citizens our democracy requires, or do we assume that a fine – but general – education is sufficient?

Derek Bok’s book, “Our Underachieving Colleges” (2005), makes a compelling case that colleges need to do more. Bok will be at Digital Worlds Institute at 3 p.m. on Feb. 23, to start a dialogue that we hope will result in a more visible focus on civic engagement.

The Bob Graham Center also has received an Americorps grant, “Making Citizens.” This will assist in efforts to increase the number of immigrant staff and community members who take and pass the citizenship exam, help new citizens become active community members, and train Americorps members/students to become more engaged citizens.

For more information, visit bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu.

Ann Henderson,
Director, Bob Graham Center

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