A regular look at what Vermont college students are thinking and doing in their own words
by Caitie Banfield, Senior at Norwich
As a college student, I never expected myself to become interested and involved with politics. I recall thinking if I ever were to get involved with politics it would be later in life. Through my internship with True North Reports, I became very interested and in tune with what’s happening in my state government. Before starting my internship, I had very little knowledge on Vermont politics, however, through my internship opportunity my knowledge of the subject grew immensely.
While interning with True North, I mainly covered health care policy by attending Green Mountain Care board meetings, press conferences with the governor and talking with people who are familiar with Act 48. After I built a foundation of understanding of the new law for myself through reading and talking with people, I explored the effects the reform will have as the law comes into effect.
Particularly, I explored the effects the health care reform will have on small business owners and their businesses. I had the opportunity to talk with Senator Randy Brock who gave me some background information and raised several concerns with the legislation yet to be addressed by lawmakers (like how will it be paid for!). In addition, I talked with Representative Jim Eckhardt, who is also a business owner. He provided me with two perspectives on the reform, a House perspective and the other a business perspective of the reform.
Towards the end of my internship I realized I was able to have conversations about aspects of Act 48 with others. It was very rewarding to build a working knowledge of health care reform and have a complete understanding of the effects it will bring.
I am amazed by how much I learned and how much I enjoyed doing the internship with True North. Not only did I learn a lot about the health care reform, I have also become more aware of Vermont politics as a whole. I have become more conscious of the presidential campaigns and other national politics.
I feel that too few college students have enough knowledge of politics. My mindset as a college student was, ‘I don’t need to know anything that is going on in the political world, because it doesn’t affect me.’ In a sense it may not have an immediate effect, but it will have effects on my future. Now that I will be joining the business/career world shortly, I have a greater appreciation for my knowledge in the political world.
A solution to educating more college students on politics and preparing them for entering the career world would be to mandate that colleges offer a course that covers what is currently going on in the political world. I think that colleges offering a current events course focusing on politics would benefit college students immensely. All of the things I learned throughout my internship have given me have a better understanding of what I will need to be aware of in my future. Part of becoming independent is relying on yourself and what you know, and as I am preparing to graduate college and search for a career, I am confident I will be able to understand and keep up with what is going on in the political world.