Youth Town Hall focuses on civic leadership

Veekas Shrivastava, ASU economics senior, will be speaking at the Youth Town Hall in MU Ventana Ballroom Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Photo by W. Scot Grey)

Students will explore civic leadership at the third Arizona Youth Town Hall on the Tempe campus Wednesday afternoon.

The Arizona Town Hall hosted its first youth forum about a year ago on energy, and the second event in April focused on civic engagement.

Arizona Town Hall President Tara Jackson said the idea behind the event, which is being held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Ventana  Ballroom, is to involve students in policy discussions.

“It is important for policy leaders to know what our youth are thinking,” Jackson said.

The Arizona Town Hall website defines civic leadership as working collaboratively with different groups and perspectives to achieve goals.

Students will hear from panelists and break into groups to discuss issues relating to civic leadership during the town hall, Jackson said.

The Arizona Town Hall will compile and present notes from the youth forum discussions at the statewide three-day town hall event in November, where government, economic and community leaders will meet to talk about civic leadership, Jackson said.

The impact of the town halls is deep and long lasting, she said.

Economics senior Veekas Shrivastava, one of the panelists, said civic leadership is about compromising, finding practical solutions and collaborating with others.

“You don’t have to have a position of authority to be a civic leader,” Shrivastava said.

Shrivastava said he became involved in civic leadership in 2008 when he served on a political action committee to save schools in his district from losing millions of dollars in budget cuts.

He said it is important for students to step up as civic leaders to create change in society.

“We have a lack of civic leaders (right now),” Shrivastiva said.

He said the town hall aims to empower and motivate students.

Arizona Center for Civic Leadership Vice President Nancy Welch, the panelist discussion moderator, said civic leaders impact every aspect of life.

“Every student’s future is affected by civic leadership,” Welch said.

Jackson said she expects about 250 high school, university and community college students to attend the event, either at the MU or through a satellite location in Yuma.

The Arizona Students’ Association, Maricopa County Community Colleges and Arizona Town Hall partnered to organize the Youth Town Hall.

Students can still register to participate through the Arizona Town Hall website or in the MU starting at 2 p.m.


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