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On-campus events and forums are highly underused

Students should make a greater effort to attend on-campus events that include political leaders

CB Graphic

"Attending on-campus events can provide new resources and opportunities for students." Illustration published Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

In the last few days of March, ASU will host more than 20 panels and forums discussing a range of issues affecting the school, state and nation. By not taking advantage of these discussions and networking opportunities, students are overlooking a wealth of resources available nearly at their fingertips.

On the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 28, approximately 60 people gathered in the Concho Room of the Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix to hear a panel discuss the potential outcomes of federal healthcare changes in the state of Arizona.

Those who attended the healthcare forum could hear from a senior policy adviser for Gov. Doug Ducey, a representative for Planned Parenthood, a district director for the U.S. House of Representatives and the director for ASU’s Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center talk about how changes would directly affect different Arizona communities. 

While this event was hosted by ASU’s School of Public Affairs, the crowd was evenly split between healthcare professionals from around the state and a single class whose attendance was mandatory at the event. 

Unaffiliated community members outnumbered University students.

Events like this healthcare forum, which went largely unattended by students, provide a platform for open discussion with actual professionals and for augmenting knowledge of issues that go beyond classroom conversations.

The qualifications to participate in these events are simple: attend ASU and show up. 

Geoffrey Gonsher, professor in the School of Public Policy and Community Solutions, said it was important for University students to attend panels like these because they discuss public policy issues that affect students. 

As someone who views the understanding of policy as crucial in our highly politicized world, I believe it is vital to take advantage of any resource available, especially ones that are so easily accessible. 

Not to mention, these events are generally free to students, and even have the potential to end in a Hollywood-esque scene of you walking into the sunset with a bag full of sweet free snacks. 

"Students who attend these kinds of events participate to a greater degree in class, do better in class, and (I believe they) are the types of students who in their careers are going to be much more successful and effective because they take advantage of these opportunities," Gonsher said. 

So whether you genuinely enjoy these events, can convince your professor to tack on a few bonus points or end up with some free food, attending on-campus events that discuss policy and modern issues is a simple way to get involved and better educate yourself while in college.

Reach the columnist at or follow @CourtneyBeesch on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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