Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center Events
Civic Engagement Fellows
Each academic year, two to three undergraduate students are selected to pursue the Carl Albert Center’s efforts on-campus related to civic education and political engagement. Fellows earn a $1600 stipend for the academic year ($800 per semester). Hours per week vary, with some light weeks and some heavy weeks (i.e. the week of an election). In addition to ongoing efforts to register students to vote, Civic Engagement Fellows pursue civic engagement projects of their own. Past individual projects have included, among others, high school student voter registration, developing a Norman Youth Council, and developing programs to engage women in politics.
The Center pursues these and related activities as a member of the National Campaign for Civic and Political Engagement. The National Campaign is a consortium of 21 institutions pursuing projects in civic engagement. It is staffed by the Institute of Politics in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education sponsor a voter registration contest through its Oklahoma Campus Compact. OU competes against other colleges and universities to register the most students to vote on their campus. This year the contest will run from June 1st – October 12th.
The Carl Albert Center Civic Engagement Fellows will be partnering with various student organizations to make the drive a success and will be targeting all incoming and current students with a voter registration drive during the first few weeks of the fall semester. Registration booths and information centers are set up in the student Union building and in various places around the campus grounds. Students are encouraged to have their friends register to vote as well and are given information to pass out to them. We plan to once again set up an operation on the South Oval on Election Day!
Election Watch Parties
As student interest in the election continues to build this year, the Carl Albert Center will seek to get students involved and motivated. We will host debate watch parties at the Center, and we plan, in conjunction with SGA, to host a large election night watch party. In these various watch parties, students gather on campus to watch a debate or election results streaming in on major television news networks and to hear analysis from professors of American politics. The election watch parties have always drawn a tremendously positive response from the students.
Politics and Pizza
As a reflection of their commitment to civic education, the Carl Albert Center and the OU Department of Political Science have continued to jointly sponsor “Pizza and Politics” nights on the OU campus. These informal gatherings are designed to foster student-faculty discussions about various topics relating to U.S. politics and international relations. Three or four sessions are typically scheduled over the course of the fall and spring semesters and have been met with large success in years past. Students enjoy having the opportunity to come together with their favorite professors to discuss topics ranging from the current political race to the implications of hurricanes on native wetlands.