Interview: My 49er Democracy Experience

The Intersection of Psychology and Politics

By Crystal Scarboro

April 21, 2017

The 49er Democracy Experience is something I will never forget. As a psychology student, I take what I learn and apply it to my nearly every aspect of my life. The line of which psychology and politics intersect had not crossed my mind until I became active on the team and saw everything up close for myself. I saw firsthand the diversity our university has within its student body; from the beliefs, attitudes, and everything in between. In 2016, I witnessed and took part in empowering, educating, and strengthening civic engagement and voter awareness in my community. For many students, as well as myself, this was the first election that we took part in. I encountered many students from different countries, different states, and with different political views. The events we took part in involved seeing different viewpoints and having thought provoking opinions from many different directions. The conversations that took place allowed me to see that this is exactly what makes a democracy and everyone has a right to voice how they feel and what issues matter most to them.

Throughout the end of last year, we organized voter registration tabling, debate watch parties, and classroom presentations. With this, we also offered the option of volunteering if the students wanted to get involved on campus. The turnout wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the number of students who were eager to be informed about political matters was something I was able to witness upfront. Our classroom presentations were instructional and contained all the information about where, when, and how they can vote. Moreover, UNC Charlotte became an early voting site for the first time, and the campus had even more accessibility when it came to casting their votes.   

Throughout the spring semester of 2017, we have shifted our focus towards civic engagement and educating students about current events, including how they can continue to become involved with issues that they care most about. I absolutely loved all the work we accomplished on the 49er Democracy Experience team. The connections I’ve made, the skills I’ve learned, and the knowledge I’ve acquired is something that will stay with me as I move on forward. Please feel free to email me with any questions or any information about how to keep the conversation going.