College Leaders Program, Class of 2016
Day Seven: June 17, 2016
Reported by Brandon Martin, Christopher Newport University
I can’t help but be enlightened each day here at Sorensen. If I had to sum up everything we have done until this point, two words would immediately come to mind; information sharing. Maybe it sounds bland at a glance, but for me, I have rarely had times in my life where I have learned so much in such a small period of time. From the first moment I stepped foot on campus, the awesome individuals in this program (speakers, students, and program managers) shared their knowledge, sometimes with the opinions they carried, sometimes with the raw facts they presented. Today was another example of that.
We started out in our daily session with Dr. Quentin Kidd. Today we focused on the advantages of certain types of government structures. He explained why one-term governors were a bad idea, why higher education in Virginia is more competitive than in most states, why California’s systems are different, and just a whole plethora of topics that expand my mind each and every day. The huge amount of knowledge he throws at us is sometimes overwhelming, but mostly, it leads to me knowing about all the things they did not teach us in school, high school or college.
One of the sessions involved VPAP, an organization doing its best to bring more transparency to the Virginia legislating process, which I know is very much needed in an era where people are constantly concerned with the money currently going into our political system, both at the national and state level. Another session brought the president of the Young Democrats to the class. She talked about everything, from rising through the ranks of the organization to how she watched certain social media movements happen right before her eyes. As someone who is not too active on social media websites, it did give me a sense of why and how social media can be important to getting actual, tangible things done in society.
I have to say, though, the session that really stuck out to me was the one with Tim Longo, former Chief of Police in Charlottesville, just retired. From the very start of his speech he was truthful and passionate. He talked about how sad it was that police-community relations had digressed to such a level. He asked what happened to the “trust and relationship” cops used to have within the communities across the nation. I loved it because he did not come from the ‘cops are always right’ perspective, one that ignores the fact that certain people have legitimate concerns with the actions of the police. He talked about how important it was that the police and community trust each other, and stressed that it would be the only way for people to come together. He also talked about his friend, a police legend from New York, who thought of it as an opportunity to solve the problem and come together more closely with the people than before this terrible era started. I must admit, it was very nice to hear a high ranking member of the police community acknowledge that there was a problem, mistakes were made, and that we can only fix it by building back up the trust that was originally lost. He was a man who ‘told it like it is’, both ways, and he shared his lament with us over the current situation. For that I have certainly gained a level respect and love for the police and what they try to do each day.
Again, just another day of life changing information…this just happened to be my day to report. I am sure tomorrow’s senate simulation will be intriguing as we battle for bills and power!