April opens American Public Square’s Student Month

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American Public Square at Jewell is a community-based organization that works to establish civil public discourse through convening, education, and engagement. Since 2013, the organization has been a leader in the Kansas City area in thoughtful and meaningful political conversations. 

In 2019 American Public Square partnered with William Jewell College to work in and with the College community. One topic of significance, especially for college students, is the cost of higher education. American Public Square dedicated the month of April to host four events that are designed to help prospective and current college students handle this issue. 

All of the events are free of charge, and the only requirement for students is to register for each event they want to attend. The events are planned and organized by college and high school students in the Kansas City area. They will include policy experts and those that dealt with the issue explaining the nuances and facts about the cost of college in the U.S.

Students that attend two or more programs will be eligible to win an Apple Watch through a drawing at the end of the month. Students that go to one event will be eligible to receive a Door Dash or QuikTrip gift card. 

The first event was April 6. Coffee and Politics with Congressman Don Beyer will be a Zoom forum where students can ask about and learn about student loan forgiveness from a legislator’s perspective. Congressman Beyer is a four-term congressman from Virginia’s 8th district. Beyer is currently the Chair of the Joint Committee on Economics and serves on the House Committees on Ways and Means and Science Space and Technology. He also served as the Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama.

The next event, Student Debt: Where Do We Go From Here?, will be held April 8. The program will address student loan debt. In the U.S., student loans total $1.7 trillion of debt and grow six times faster than the U.S. economy. A panel of experts from both sides will explain and argue key points on the issue. 

Panelists include Dr. Beth Vonnahme and Preston Cooper. Vonnahme is an Associate Professor in Political Science and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMKC. Her research and teaching focus on political behavior and public opinion. 

Cooper is a Visiting Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. His writings have been published by the Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, and The Washington Post, among others. Register for the event here.

The final two events hosted by American Public Square are April 28 and 29 over Zoom. The first of the two is the APS Community Discussion Group. During the event, all students will have the opportunity to share their opinion on student debt with people from all over the political spectrum. 

Finally, the organization will host the APS High School Signature Student Program. It is a panel discussion about whether or not college should cost money.  Details on the panelists have not yet been released, but that information is forthcoming. Registration is not yet open for these two events, but those interested can sign up through the American Public Square website when the link is live. 

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