The Culver Center works on engaging other organizations in future

by Laura Wiersema, Reporter

The Culver Public Policy Center may only be five years old, but it has big plans for the future, including the rest of this school year.

Founded in 2010 by Sen. John C. Culver, the Culver Public Policy Center aims to engage students interested in politics, public service, journalism, debate and any other field that might lead to a career in public service. The center is nonpartisan, bringing in prominent figures from both republican and democratic parties.

One of the main features of the center is the program for Culver Fellows, students who are chosen to receive scholarships for public service. This select group is involved in every aspect of the events through the Culver Center.

Seth Andersen, director of the Culver Center, said, “They are very actively engaged in the work of the center.”

The fellows help plan all of the events, act as ambassadors for Simpson College when speakers come to campus, and travel around the country to conferences.

Students don’t have to be directly involved with the center to benefit from all it has to offer.

“We want to serve the entire college community,” Andersen said. “Anyone on campus who is interested in public policy issues, legislation, political debate, we want to be a place where people can gather and discuss ideas.”

As part of serving the larger Simpson community, the Culver Center is looking into ways to partner with other organizations and faculty on campus and make their name more well known.

Molly Monk, one of the Culver Fellows, has high aspirations for the years to come in the Culver Center.

“One of the things we’re trying this year, which I think is going to be pretty effective, is just partnering with other institutions and finding out what the need is on campus,” Monk said.

MacKenzie Bills, also a Culver Fellow, agreed that the group is working hard to engage several other organizations on campus.

“Government issues is what’s going on now and that spans all sorts of issues: health issues, business issues, social issues,” Bills said. “That’s the unique aspect of political science; it just spans a lot of issues.”

One of the driving influences of creating a campus-wide community program was the presentation about racial disparities by Tom Newkirk on Feb. 10.

Several variations of disparities, including racial and gender, exist in the government on national, state and local levels. The program, which will most likely be in late March or early April, will focus on police-community relations, racial issues in the justice system and other related concerns.

“We want to deal with issues that matter at the national level and state level, but also bring it home to the experience of the folks living and working and studying here at Simpson,” Andersen said.

The Culver Center would like to invite those interested to attend their upcoming events.

At 7:30 p.m. on Mar. 17 in Black Box, Ann Selzer, consistently rated the most accurate pollster in the country, will be hosting a workshop based on her work in polling and surveying.

Also, the Annual John C. Culver Lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Apr. 14 in Pote Theatre. David Axelrod, a long-time friend of President Obama, will be speaking about his experiences in the political field.