College is the time when a person’s politics are shaped, and seeds are planted in the minds of future leaders.
It was while attending Occidental College in Los Angeles that now-President Barack Obama gave his first public speech. Current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American to serve as governor, was active in the College Republicans.
The influence of politics on college students is one heavily stressed by John Lucas.
“It’s important, as people, to find things to excite and energize us,” he says.
Lucas, a professor of history and political science at Pierce College Puyallup, has assumed the role as advisor of the campus Republicans Club.
“It’s a fun group to work with,” he says. “There’s a lot of energy, enthusiasm and thoughtful ideas.”
Lucas’ interest in politics was sparked while living and working in Nigeria, where he adopted an interest in African politics.
Before coming to Pierce, he taught at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and St. Lawrence University in upstate New York.
Lucas is not a Republican himself but says that doesn’t affect his relationship with the students he advises.
“Part of my job as a political science professor is to help students formulate their beliefs,” he says. “This group is not about what my ideas are. I don’t need to work on those.”
As far as the issues facing the college, Lucas puts education and the ongoing economic difficulties at the top of the list. He also says he has met a lot of students interested in “the moral dimension,” or examining the underlying causes of issues such as discrimination and poverty.
Lucas stresses that all students–––regardless of their political beliefs–––should stay politically informed and lead active lives.
“Politics is just one of those things,” he says with a smile. “Now that I’ve reached middle age, I understand just how quickly life can go by. It’s wasted if you don’t get engaged and find something to get excited about.”
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost