FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Students at Sacred Heart University will have the opportunity to meet with two former congressmen March 26-28 through Congress to Campus, a program that aims to increase young people’s civic literacy and participation.
Run by the Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC), in partnership with the Stennis Center for Public Service, Congress to Campus sends a bipartisan pair of former Congress members to institutions of higher education for two-day visits. There, the former lawmakers conduct classes and interact with students, aiming to promote greater democratic participation.
Voter turnout among people under 30 tends to be much lower than turnout among other age groups. Likewise, trust in members of Congress remains low, according to a 2018 Gallup Poll. Congress to Campus provides an opportunity for young people to meet face-to-face with those who have served—building trust and recognition of the value of public service and civic engagement.
“I want the students to feel a greater sense of respect for what Congress does,” said Gary Rose, chair of SHU’s Department of Government. “Hopefully, they’ll feel more motivated about public service.”
Sacred Heart’s guests will be Robert Weygand, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and Gil Gutknecht, a Republican from Minnesota.
Weygand served in the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2001. Once Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor as well, he is now director of the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Rhode Island.
Gutknecht was in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007. He is now an adviser to several companies including TransparaGov Corporation, a leading developer of software tools designed to bring visual analytic technologies to governmental bodies.
Several of the forthcoming events involving the two congressmen will be hosted by SHU’s Institute for Public Policy. The Institute is directed by Lesley DeNardis, associate professor of political science.
For more information on Congress to Campus, visit https://www.usafmc.org/congress-to-campus/
About Sacred Heart University
As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus, which is located about an hour from Manhattan and 2.5 hours from Boston. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland. More than 8,500 students attend the University’s eight colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business; Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, yet at the same time develops students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives and professions and in their communities. A spirit of service, entrepreneurship and social justice is the essence of who we are and can be seen inside and outside the classroom as students learn how to make a difference far beyond Fairfield. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 384 Colleges–2019 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 267 Business Schools–2018 Edition. It also placed SHU on its lists for “Happiest Students” and “Most Engaged in Community Service,” each of which comprises only 20 U.S. schools. Sacred Heart has a Division I athletics program. www.sacredheart.edu