Michael O. Leavitt Center: Not Just for Politicos

Published: September 13, 2013 | Category: Academics

Democrat, republican, independent, green, libertarian—whatever your political party or even if you don’t have one, the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service has a place for you within its ranks, alongside other community minded students engaged in leadership, service and scholarship. 

The non-partisan Leavitt Center serves as an interdisciplinary hub for all things related to politics, public service and civic responsibility. Helping SUU students, faculty, staff and community members alike become more engaged in their community and stay abreast with local, national and global events.  

Located next to the Sharwan Smith Student Center Living Room, the Center is perpetually abuzz with students discussing issues of the day or checking in for a quick news update on the Center’s flat screen TV, which is constantly lit with news broadcasts.

The Center facilitates experiential learning opportunities for students in public policy research, government administration and works to engage T-Birds and citizens alike in the democratic process.

This is done by the Center placing students each semester in internships at the local, state and national levels, according to interest and career path. Such experiences have landed students in Cedar City government offices, the Utah Legislature and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

True to its mission, the Leavitt Center augments students’ formal education by providing quality experiences, leadership opportunities and professional training to help students become successful leaders and responsible citizens. The Leavitt Center exists not only for the benefit of SUU students but also seeks to engage the community in its events and initiatives.

Of this Eric Kirby, executive director of the Leavitt Center said, “About 95 percent of our events are open to the community. We’re working to build a more informed and engaged citizenry, both on and off campus, with aim to get people involved in the democratic process.”  

In line with that objective, the Center has organized several events throughout fall semester, as well as a student-driven initiative to support SUU’s veteran students.

The Center is working to form an SUU chapter of the Student Veteran’s Association as a way to help students re-acclimate to campus after returning from active duty. A Veteran’s Day event is also in the planning stages and will honor the more than 170 veterans currently enrolled at SUU.

Perhaps its most widely enjoyed event, the Center will continue its weekly Pizza & Politics series, scheduled for every Wednesdays at noon in the Entertainment Bureau, located in the Student Center.

Ever-striving to be at the edge of current issues and events, Pizza & Politics features guest speakers, debates and open forum discussions about social and political issues, relevant to the SUU community.

Other events that students and community events can expect from the Center this semester is a National Voter Registration Day on September 24, which will be a multi-day registration drive, helping students and community members register to vote.

Further into the semester will be a warm-up to basketball season, the Center will bring together students and student-athletes from SUU’s men and women’s basketball teams in a hoop-shooting challenge: the Baller and Bawler Tournament, slated for October 16 – 18.

Along with these events the Leavitt Center will host this semester the Cedar City Mayoral Debate and other area government leaders.

This year marks the Leavitt Center’s 15-year anniversary, so many more events are sure to come. Stay up-to-date through the Center’s blog at www.leavittcenter.org.

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