Professor Michael Welsh, a professor of political science at Keene State, gave a lecture through the Open College series titled “Is Politics for Young People?” Welsh said yes, politics are for young people, clarifying that the topic is especially important for those between the ages of 18 and 29.
“Somebody asked me if I had any lectures that I might give, and I said, ‘Well, this is sort of an interesting topic. We’re going to be close to an election, young people at Keene State, why not?’” Welsh said. “When young people hate politics, they can get taken advantage of by the system. The system will tax them more, it will place them more burdens on them, it will ask more of them that they don’t agree to. It won’t think their issues are important, like education and the environment. I think that paying attention to politics means that you will have a say and that your issues will be important, and that’s good for everyone,” he added.
“I don’t keep away from [political bias] entirely, because I think it’s good for people motivated by their own bias. Without bias, you’re not interested. If listening stops, then it’s time to reel it back in, and maybe push a point so that maybe people will listen,” Welsh said.
Lorie Rogers, the Program Coordinator in the Continuing Education Department, was present for the seminar.
“My job is to help promote all of the programs that fall under our umbrella. There are a number of them, and Open College is one of them,” Rogers said.
Before Welsh began the lecture, Rogers said, “There’s going to be a panel conversation following his presentation. That’s a first; we haven’t done that before. It’s always a very relaxed format where there’s a lot of give and take, and a lot of questions from the audience, but this time is a different format with a panel discussion afterwards.”
Jonathan Tshibambi, a junior history major with a minor in safety studies, is a student of Welsh’s.
“I do vote. I’ve been interested in politics — not super interested — but I just remember being high school-age and the Obama and McCain presidential election was going on. I was asking my dad a lot about policy, or what they meant by this or that. When I see classes like this, I try to take another politics class. It’s just interesting to me,” Tshibambi said.
Regarding the conversation panel following the lecture, Tshibambi said, “I think that the discussion at the end, about when he was trying to find out about how young people feel about voting, or representation versus empathy, and things like that was kind of cool.”
There was an attendance of about fifty people, equally ranging from Keene State students to older people in the community.
“The graphs and stuff show that young people just don’t turn out as much as older people for whatever reasons. I think it’s true, but with the discussion, I think it can be changed in the culture. With more older people here, different opinions … I think it’s cool to see what they have to say about what we learn about,” Tshibambi said.
On November 14, the Open College series will end with history professor Dr. Nick Germana’s presentation that will focus on the 100th anniversary of World War I.
Amanda Bevis can be contacted at