Since its fall launch, nearly 300 colleges and universities nationwide have signed on to the principles of Wesleyan’s E2020 initiative, reflecting a broad-based civic commitment with Middletown roots.
The three core principles read:
1. Developing civic preparedness is a core element of the mission of American higher education.
2. Participating in American political life helps students learn from a diversity of ideas and people while developing skills for lifelong, active citizenship.
3. Empowering students and teachers to engage with the complex issues facing the country are crucial facets of higher education’s contributions to the common good.
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR (prior to the outbreak of and restrictions precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic), Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 spent several months leading public conversations on the shared responsibilities of higher education institutions for developing civically engaged citizens and contributing to civic life in the United States.
“Over the last several years, pundits have been complaining that students today are either coddled snowflakes afraid of confrontation or militant social justice warriors hell-bent on imposing their values on others,” Roth said in February. “These caricatures are belied by the thousands of students around the country who engage with fellow citizens in the public sphere, and who over the next several months will do their best to help make our democracy work.”
Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, more than 30 Wesleyan students have used E2020 support to do just that.