Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 16, 2008

Students offer political views

By JESSE DAVIS

A group of students from Goshen College had an opportunity to discuss their views on faith and politics as part of a CNN roundtable on first-time voters at College Mennonite Church Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m mildly addicted to following politics,” senior social work major Rebecca Fast said. “I also watch CNN, so this is really exciting.”

Fast and six other students, all Mennonite, covered Iraq, immigration and politics in their comments to CNN anchor Rick Sanchez.

Approximately 50 students applied for the event after being notified through a campus e-mail.

“It’s such an opportunity to have our students share their opinions and experiences with people around the world,” Jodi Beyeler, director of the campus news bureau, said.

Along with Fast, freshman English major Jennifer Speight, freshman collegiate studies major Adriel Santiago, junior communication and business double major Sheldon Good, senior history major Peter Koontz, junior English major Elizabeth Beachy and freshman molecular biology/biochemistry major Kenda Joy Sprunger participated.

“I like engaging in conversation about certain issues, especially with the election coming up,” Sprunger said of her interest in the event.

When asked who they will vote for by a show of hands, all but one student supported Barack Obama, with the single vote going to Hillary Clinton.

During filming, students suggested Americans spend more time overseas and spend more time talking with our enemies to foster a stronger sense of global citizenship in our country. This is an idea they suggest would impact everything from the war in Iraq to immigration. This, several agreed in reaction to a question posed by Sanchez, was a main reason they will support Obama.

College President Jim Brenneman was impressed by the students’ answers.

“They were magnificent. They articulated a commitment to core values of Goshen College, particularly what it means to be a global citizen. You couldn’t ask for a more Christ-centered view of the world,” he said.

All seven of the participating students have either already participated or are looking forward to participating in the school’s Study-Service Term program to Peru, Colombia and several other countries.

Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, who heard about the filming Monday night, was in attendance.

“I think it’s great. Several years ago NPR came to Goshen College, and now CNN has. It’s very good for the school.”

The discussion is slated to be broadcast April 23 on CNN’s “American Morning,” hosted by John Roberts and Kiran Chetry. It will include clips from similar roundtables filmed in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Another may be filmed in Ohio.