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Honors Program Hosts Fireside Chat about Voting

Julia Matter

Staff Writer

On Oct. 14 Mary McHugh gave a Fireside Chat in Crowe Hall called “The 2018 Election: To Vote or Not to Vote,” which was co-hosted by the Honors Program and Merrimack College Democrats. McHugh is the Executive Director of the Stevens Service Learning Center and Adjunct Professor of Political Science.

The discussion touched upon the topics of why students should vote, how to vote, obstacles to voting and consequences of potential 2018 results. A pamphlet for the Fireside Chat included arguments for and against Massachusetts’s three ballot questions as well as a mail in form to register to vote.

In the lecture, McHugh discussed the pros and cons of voting and also why some people choose to vote while others choose to abstain. McHugh asked students whether our government can still be considered legitimate if we are not participating in it.

The midterm elections are being held Nov. 6 although individuals must have registered to vote by Oct. 16 to be eligible for the upcoming election.

Kira Cameron, class of ‘21, was in attendance that night and thought the discussion was informative and made students want to be able to contribute to the country by voting. While she is still deciding whether to vote, Cameron says the chat did make her more inclined to participate.

“The Honors Program constantly asks students to tell us about the classes and faculty members that they most enjoy. Mary McHugh’s name came up again and again, so I reached out to her with the invitation to do a Fireside Chat with our honors students on the topic of her choice,” said Ellen McWhorter, Director of the Honors Program. “These events are designed to provide a low-key chance for students and faculty to chew the fat and talk about current events and passion projects.”

Honors Program Fireside Chats started in the spring of 2017, and they feature alumni and faculty at the school. They were first held in the Sanctuary Coffeehouse at North Residential Village. However, this Fireside Chat got so much response it was moved to the Crowe Hall Executive room and was opened to all Merrimack students.

This chat was co-sponsored by the Merrimack College Democrats who offered to register students to vote right on the spot. If they did not have the required documentation to register on the spot, the Merrimack College Democrats offered to send students the link so they could sign up when once they got home.

The Merrimack Honors Program was developed in 2008 and has grown significantly since its start. The Honors Program offers challenging courses for highly motivated individuals. The program is inspired by St. Augustine’s belief that studying with friends is the best environment for learning.

There is a wide range of opportunities in the Honors Program, including smaller classes, research opportunities, specialized advising, priority registration, research and travel grants, designated housing and even graduation recognition. The Honors Program is about inspiring community within academics.

“The Honors program brings us together,” said Alexandria Smeltzer class of ‘21, “We’re living with people with all the same motives, mindsets and goals as you have. So being in that environment it is easy to stay motivated and on top of your work and it really brings a sense of community since we’re all on the same path together.”