Dear Future President …
The general election was this week, giving Americans the opportunity to voice their opinions on elected officials and ballot proposals. Whether or not you’re happy with the results of the 2020 election, you may want to express your opinions directly to our national leader.
The Saginaw Valley State University Writing Center teamed up with the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region and the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture Saginaw Outpost to give you the chance to do just that. The trio is sponsoring a campaign called “Dear Future President.” The campaign calls for individuals to write out postcards detailing concerns and wishes for the future of America.
If you’ve got something to say to the president, stop by the Bay County Library System and fill out a postcard before Dec. 15. The SVSU Writing Center will mail them on Jan. 20, which is the 2021 Inauguration Day.SVSU created the campaign in 2016 for the presidential election. It offered it again in 2018 when Michigan was deciding between gubernatorial candidates Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette. The 2018 campaign garnered nearly 1,500 postcards from community members – mainly high school and middle school students. After Whitmer won the election, she sent thank the postcard writers in writing.
Helen Raica-Klotz, the director of SVSU’s Writing Center, is thrilled with the community’s response and participation in the project.
“We’ve gotten such a great response from our local community, even with the postcard campaign moving almost exclusively online,” says Raica-Klotz. “People want their concerns about their city, state, and nation to be heard, and writing is an effective way to ensure that happens.”
The postcard campaign, which is usually incorporated into the classrooms of many local schools, is going mostly virtual this year due to COVID-19.
“Every year we’ve run the postcard contest to encourage people to write to their future elected official, we see the same issues come up: concerns about climate change, education, health care, jobs,” says Raica-Klotz. “This year, we’re also seeing people writing about ways to address the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism.”
The middle and high school students writing these postcards to their future leaders will be able to vote in the coming years. This postcard campaign is a great way for young minds to reflect on the characteristics they will be looking for in a prominent leader.
“Getting these students to think about how their voice matters, and will continue to matter, in politics is important,” Raica-Klotz says.
This campaign isn’t only for students, however. Any Great Lakes Bay Region resident is welcome to participate. Community members can participate in the “Dear Future President” postcard project in a few ways.
Postcards are available throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region at the libraries including the Bay County Library System. The cards also are available at coffee shops throughout the region. Electronic postcards are available at https://www.svsu.edu/ccw/outreachprojects/. All postcards must be completed by Dec. 15 and will be sent from the SVSU Writing Center to the White House in January 2020 on Inauguration Day, notes Raica-Klotz.
If you’re a teacher, request postcards for your students by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a cosponsor, the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region is thrilled to be involved and encouraging young people to participate in civic engagement.
“We’re excited to be a part of the postcard campaign,” says Moira Branigan, executive director of the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region. “Our hope is everyone who participates is motivated to vote in November. For students – our future voters – it’s an introduction to civic engagement.”