Program set to engage and encourage younger voters

Next month, The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute is set to launch the Emerging Leaders Network to advance civics education, civil discourse and civic engagement and to encourage younger voters to make informed decisions.

“The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute Emerging Leaders Network  will serve to connect the Institute and the mission it serves with a new generation of young leaders. We on the Board want the ELN to help these leaders embody the ideals of civic engagement, civics education and civil discourse that helped define the life and legacy of Justice O’Connor,” Professor Myles Lynk, Sandra Day O’Connor Institute board member and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, said.   

The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) targets adults ages 18-35 to encourage civic engagement and to be knowledgeable, informed and active voters and citizens.

“It’s not limited to only people who want to make a career out of going into government,” Jonathan Gelbart, Director of Educational Initiatives and Innovation at the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute, said. “It’s for anybody in any field who just wants to exercise their constitutional right to vote and get involved.”

The Center For Information & Research on Civic Learning estimated that approximately 31 percent of eligible voters ages 18-29 voted in the 2018 midterms.

The 2018 participation exceeded participation of voters that age in 2014, and programs like ELN hope to continue that improvement while encouraging civic knowledge.

This Institute works to “continue Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s legacy in life and work to advance civics education, civic engagement and civil discourse,” Gelbart explained.

ELN will implement those three values in its programming.

Civil discourse

“Our vision is to create a nation where important policy decision affecting our future are made through a process of civil discussion, critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens,” Gelbart said.

Civic engagement

He added that nearly all of ELN’s programming “will involve encouraging civic engagement,” which is the act of addressing issues of public concern.

ELN will work to encourage those who are addressing issues to participate and make decisions as informed individuals.

Civics education

ELN is set to launch a website that will include its value of civics education because it will feature information about basic civics, informational videos and more.

The Emerging Leaders Network will host its launch event, After Hours Networking, on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at The Porch on Indian School Rd. Those who are interested in attending can RSVP at

Sierra Ciaramella

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