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Student Activity Spotlight: Upper School Civic Activism Club

A Q&A with Student Leader Lily Nevo ’20


What inspired you to found Shipley’s Civic Activism Club?
Isaac Keiser ’20, Brennan Leach ’19, and I founded this club in response to the quasi-school walkout we were involved in planning after the Parkland shooting. I came to Shipley in ninth grade, and that walkout was one of the few times I have seen students be “political” at school, where we are often told to discuss issues in an objective, bipartisan way in class. The three of us were inspired by the political enthusiasm of the student body and decided that we wanted to encourage it all year-round. We currently have about 10 members.
 
What is the focus of the Civic Activism Club?
Though the club was initially gun-violence focused, we now discuss a wide range of issues. We spend most of our club periods discussing current events or teaching how the government actually works. For example, during the Trump impeachment, we talked a lot about not only the process of impeachment, but also the details of the charges against the President (“What is a quid pro quo?” “How does the separation of powers between the three branches of government play into this?”). The ultimate goal is that by educating students on the fundamental structure of government, they can become better informed citizens. Additionally, though the club members definitely lean to one end of the political spectrum, we try to not tell people what to think about current events, but rather how to read the news responsibly in order to form their own opinions.
 
How has social distancing impacted your club’s work?
In the past, we have helped register students to vote, sent out a “newsletter” of various marches and political organizations to get involved with, and many members were also involved in planning the Upper School’s political assembly. In terms of what we are doing right now, we are primarily focused on making sure that people can still vote without feeling at risk, because no one should have to decide between staying healthy and exercising their civic right. That is why we are trying to get as many people as possible to apply for a mail-in ballot.
 
What do you want people to know about how to stay civically engaged while in quarantine?
The PA primary election is on June 2, 2020. Go to votespa.com to register to vote and/or apply for a mail-in ballot. A mail-in ballot requires a short application, but it allows you to vote from home. The application for a mail-in ballot for this election is due on May 26th.

Make sure your family has completed the 2020 Census (can be filled out online here). The census is a nationwide population count that occurs every ten years. It determines, among other things, federal funding and the number of representatives in the House of Representatives for each state, so it is very important this it is as accurate as possible.

As always, we encourage you to contact your representatives and let them know what’s important to you. Find your federal and state elected officials, and get some tips on how to contact them.
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.