The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Tower Center extends program to undergraduates

The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is extending opportunities to undergraduate students as of Sept. 3.

The Center has been on the SMU campus since 1994, offering internships, fellowships and scholarships, but its newly-established Student Forum is its first affiliation with the undergraduate student body.

Matthew Tullman, senior advisor for student affairs and programs at the Center, explained that the goal of the Center is to “educate the next generation of ethical leaders” by providing access to political leaders, encouraging discussion in current issues, and providing real-world experiences.

“The Student Forum is our next initiative to meet that,” he said.

While the Center’s title may indicate that the students and professors involved must be in political studies of some form, Tullman insists that the Center has people from across campus. Even staff from the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank are involved.

According to Tullman, the Center’s prerogative is “to empower the students to connect with these people.”

As far as undergraduate involvement, Tullman has plans for events and research opportunities. The Student Forum will also have policy committees where students will discuss current issues.

“Policy committees are designed to be broader,” he said.

Tullman explained that this is where having members of various backgrounds comes as a necessity: approaching the problem from different areas of study blends perspectives, whereas a group of students may be able to find a solution for a problem when respected leaders can’t.

Issues in discussion will vary, but they include topics such as national security, immigration, renewable energy or problems like the British Petroleum Global oil spill last April.

Tullman graduated a year early in 2010 after earning a fellowship research grant with the Tower. He then asked the director how to involve more students, and the idea of the Student Forum was created.

After sending an e-mail to the student body last Friday, Tullman expects to see many applications. While general membership is open to anyone, leadership and research positions require applications.

“Decisions will be made on a rolling basis,” he said.

A number of students are already in the Student Forum after professors recommended them to Tullman.

Julie Heidt, a junior CCPA major and member of the Center’s Student Forum, finds that it serves as a solution to the “academic discourse in the community.”

“[The Center] blends the news and the courses you take and makes them ideas,” she said.

Heidt explained that discussing issues with other interested students is both “lively” and educational.

“It’s great because it’s what you really do outside of college,” she said.

Guests whom the Center has recently hosted include Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger and John McCain.

Tullman indicated that the Student Forum’s kickoff would be on either Constitution Day (Sept. 17) or John G. Tower’s birthday (Sept. 29).

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