Community activists and future political leaders have a chance for a hands-on push into public life next month, when the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) holds a one-day Civic Engagement Boot Camp.
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego will lead the April 10 workshop, which will include discussions and group exercises. Designed to be non-partisan, the interactive sessions require participants to think critically and commit to making a difference.
Like any boot camp – think of those Marine-style exercise programs that require former couch potatoes to jump over logs and jog for miles – this isn’t for the faint of heart. It will be the second in a series of civic engagement boot camps offered by the Hobby Center, intended to develop and enhance the ability to lead effectively within any environment.
Gallego said he wants people to learn how to participate in public life and to realize that participating can bring untold rewards.
"A democracy is stronger when more people participate,” he said. “One of the biggest dangers our nation faces is the possibility of an unengaged citizenry which refuses to take responsibility for the power given it by our founding fathers.”
Gallego served in the Texas Legislature for 20 years before being elected to Congress in 2012.
Renee Cross, associate director of the HCPP, said the civic engagement boot camp is open to both students and community members. Admission is free but is limited to 20 participants; pre-registration is required.
To register, send an email to Isaiah Warner, firstname.lastname@example.org with CEBC in the subject line. Include your name, phone number and email address. The workshop runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in McElhinney Hall. Lunch will be provided.
The Hobby Center serves the Houston community as a nonpartisan research organization, providing scientific data and analysis to public officials, business professionals, community leaders and others.