Institute for Leadership and Service Undergraduate Research Conference
Thank you to all who attended this year’s conference! If you couldn’t join us – or if you’d like to go back to your favorite part of the program – you can see video from the presenters and panelists here on the ILAS YouTube Channel.
About the Conference
With the drama created by and around this recent election cycle, it seems U.S. democracy and, in particular, the “respectability” of our political discourse, has shifted considerably and will likely continue to evolve in ways experts and amateurs are equally unable to predict. Some of the more divisive or difficult language may not be new to American politics, yet new technologies, alliances and polarities appear to be reshaping the landscape of participation. As the rules of engagement change, how do “we the people” express our opinions, advocate for our causes, and engage with our elected representatives and fellow citizens effectively? What do we hold in common, and how can we build on that to connect across differences? What in our values brings us together, and what drives us further apart?
These complex and important questions will be at the heart of the 2017 Bridge/Work conference, hosted by the Institute for Leadership and Service at Valparaiso University. Through a mix of keynote addresses, undergraduate research presentations and practitioner panels, conference attendees will explore how American democracy is changing–and what the changes may mean for our own engagement with neighbor and nation.
Following a keynote address from Dr. John Inazu, author of “Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference,” undergraduate students will present research papers that tackle these issues. The afternoon portion of the program will include a panel discussion organized around the theme, “Not Your Parents’ Politics,” in which we highlight diverse ways young people are carving their path to political engagement. A mix of Valparaiso alum and other dynamic voices in the region, this discussion proves you don’t have to wait another 20 years for your chance in the arena. The final part of the day will feature a conversation between local Protestant leaders focused on how we can move past the current impasse at the current intersection of faith and public life.