I see a group of young people who understand the need for involvement better than most generations before them.
Since I began serving as the President of Southeastern University (SEU) in 2011, it’s been a dream of mine to expand SEU to include a center for political leadership.
That day has come, and I could not be more excited as we launch the American Center for Political Leadership (ACPL), spearheaded by former Congressman Dennis Ross. Ross has two decades of experience in politics, first in the Florida Legislature and then in D.C., serving as the representative for the city of Lakeland and the Polk County area. He has so many of the same values that we hold here at SEU, and I knew that our community would be enriched by having his voice on our campus, not only as the ACPL leader but as a Distinguished Professor of Political Science.
We’ve had many of our students at SEU intern at former Congressman Ross’ office, and they always came back to tell us how incredible he was to work under, how he really leaned in and mentored them, and how he opened up so many doors for their careers. I’m so proud of those students.
What makes me incredibly hopeful about the future of this country is when I look at this next generation, I see a group of young people who understand the need for involvement better than most generations before them. They have the drive and the passion, and they know that they must be part of the system: fixing its weaknesses and improving its strengths.
They also have learned how to wield their most valuable asset—their voice. The sweeping changes in technology have handed this generation a megaphone to express their opinions in a way that has never been seen before in our democracy. However, it is one thing to be handed such an amazing tool, it is quite another to be taught how to use it. These young people have the opportunity to fix issues that have plagued our nation for generations, if only they can learn how to use the gift of technology to bring solutions to the issues of our day.
That’s why we created the American Center for Political Leadership: to raise up a new generation of political leaders who understand that the only way to create real, lasting change is by engaging when others pull back, by acting with civility when others work through disrespect, and by defending the individual freedoms that form the bedrock of our society.
These are the pillars of the ACPL:
• Cultivating Civic Engagement
• Advancing Political Civility
• Defending Individual Freedoms
We want to reclaim the traditional American ideal that we can make this nation great by working together, no matter what our differences may be. Our goal is to give the next generation the tools they need to make this dream a reality. Our hope is that with the resources we create through the ACPL, this generation will be equipped to create a better way forward for the future of our country.
Let me end by saying that I would love for you to join us in our efforts through the ACPL. No matter what your career or stage of life you’re in, you are a part of a larger social fabric and you have a responsibility to participate in the issues of the day.
Join us by signing up for updates at www.theacpl.org.