Skip to main content Skip to main content

Civic inspirations

Can Congress inspire civility, democratic participation and engagement? Find out April 7-9.

By Elizabeth Parmelee

March 26, 2019

Congress to campus flyer with headshots of former congresspeopleIn 2019, reports of deep divisions within society, our communities and university campuses abound. People are finding it increasingly difficult to come together across difference to solve problems, and the explanations are plentiful: leaders who seek to stir emotions, social media that feeds on fear and uncertainty, and the many ways by which we can simply avoid those with opinions different from our own. Is there a way to shift this trend away from division and anger and toward civility?

Congress to Campus members are betting they can help. Members will visit Metropolitan State University of Denver from April 7-9, with a special event April 8 from 4-6 p.m. in Tivoli Adirondacks (440/540).

On April 8 and 9, former members of Congress Claudine Schneider, R-Rhode Island (1981-91), and Joe Hoeffel, D-Pennsylvania (1999-2005), will join the MSU Denver community for campus talks, classroom discussions and community events. They will meet with students and faculty from across disciplines and engage in discussions where the only rule is civility. No questions are off the table, and they hope to demonstrate that despite differences they can present ideas, find shared values and identify potential solutions. More important, they hope to inspire all of us to participate in creating solutions in our communities despite the differences that seem to divide us.

Created by the Association of Former Members of Congress and the Stennis Center for Public Service, Congress to Campus brings former congresspeople to college campuses across the country. Always teamed up across party lines, these leaders discuss current issues, answer questions and model civility across difference. The goal is to inspire students to participate in their own communities and classrooms, recognizing that difference is not immutably connected to division or disrespect.

How can you participate?

Arrange to have a class you teach meet with our guests: Contact Hollie Hendrickson at

Attend the Congress to Campus event April 8, and encourage your classes to attend as well.

Topics: Events

Edit this page