PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island College has been selected to participate in the “Congress to Campus” program on October 16 and 17. The program, which sends bipartisan pairs of former congress members to schools for two-day visits, is administered by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and sponsored by the Stennis Center for Public Service and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship. RIC’s chapter of the American Democracy Project (ADP), a nonpartisan initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in partnership with the New York Times, will host four panel discussions featuring former U.S. Congressional Representatives Loretta Sánchez, (D-CA 1997-2016) and Gil Gutknecht, (R-MN 1994-2006), along with several local officials and reporters.

“This is the fourth time that RIC has participated in the Congress to Campus program, and our audiences never leave disappointed,’’ said RIC Associate Professor of Communication Valerie Endress, who oversees RIC’s ADP chapter. “The former members of congress offer an authentic and often unvarnished view of the inner workings of Washington. Their perspectives, combined with two days of forums with influential decision makers, key officeholders and members of media is an unbeatable combination for insight into the world of politics.’’

The program begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 16 in Alger Hall 110 with “Congress, Bipartisanship and Governing Across the Divide,” a discussion of the increasingly bitter polarization between the two parties in Washington, featuring U.S. Rep. James Langevin, along with Sánchez and Gutknecht. NBC10 political reporter Bill Rappleye will moderate.

Monday’s schedule continues at 2 p.m. in Alger 110 with “Paradigm Shift? Millennials in Politics,” featuring a panel of Millennial officeholders who will discuss their generation’s impact on the political landscape. RIC’s Interim Vice President of College Advancement and External Relations Edwin Pacheco moderates a panel that includes Smithfield Town Councilwoman Suzy Alba, Rhode Island State Senator Dawn Euer, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, New Hampshire State Rep. Amelia Keane, and New York City Councilman Stephen Levin. The session will begin with keynote remarks from Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and conclude with a response from Sánchez and Gutknecht.

“Congress to Campus” continues at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Sapinsley Hall with “From Your House to the White House: Political Bullying in our Daily Lives,” a discussion about the need to restore civility in politics, moderated by Central Falls Schools Superintendent Victor Capellan. More than 300 high school students are expected to attend the panel to discuss the topic. The panel will feature Sánchez and Gutknecht, along with Pawtucket City Councilwoman Sandra Cano, RIC Associate VP for Community, Equity and Diversity Anna Cano-Morales, Youth in Action Executive Director Pegah Rahmanian, and Charon Rose, Director of Outreach for General Treasurer Magaziner.

The program concludes at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Alger Hall 110 with “From Your House Hashtag Politics: The Dominance of Social Media,” moderated by GoLocalProv news editor Kate Nagle. This discussion of the ever-increasing use of social media and its influence on politics features Sánchez, along with RI State Rep. Aaron Regunberg, NBC10 I-Team Digital Reporter Patricia Resende and Tim Staskiewicz, Director of Digital Media for CBS Radio in Boston.

All events are free and open to RIC students, faculty, and staff, as well as the general public. Seating is limited.

Two-day program by the American Democracy Project at RIC features two former members of congress

along with local officials and reporters, October 16-17

About the American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project (ADP) is a network of more than 250 state colleges and universities focused on public higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. ADP was established in 2003 as a nonpartisan initiative of AASCU in partnership with The New York Times. The goal of the American Democracy Project is to produce college and university graduates who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences they need to be informed, engaged members of their communities. The Rhode Island College chapter, the only one in Rhode Island, launched in 2004 and is overseen by Associate Professor of Communication Valerie Endress.