Casey Smith, a third year student at Wheaton College (MA), is committed to engaging herself and other students in local politics as a mode of creating global change. She has worked in district political campaigns and town organizations in order to better understand the importance of civic engagement at a local level. This experience has greatly shaped her work at the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact, where she has organized voter turnout drives, presentations on the impacts of the 2018 Midterm Elections, and partnered with staff in workshops about civic engagement. She is currently working with staff on a new initiative that facilitates learning and discussion around solutions to problems through community service by drawing on research, policy, and expertise from community leaders. Her volunteer work in the town of Norton as well as her involvement in groups on campus like Model UN and the Wheaton Democrats has helped her gain an understanding of real-world issues through hands-on work, political simulation, debate, and discussion.
I have always been deeply passionate about politics, particularly issues like climate change, barriers to education, and gender inequality, issues that are so global in scale, they often seem too big to tackle. Upon entering college, I have joined political groups on campus, worked with local campaigns, and served as the civic engagement intern on campus. My focus soon shifted toward local-level government. Whether it be environmental regulation, food security, zoning policy, or public education, my interest in the minutiae of policy and community activism has inspired me to try to better understand the political concerns of my peers and find ways to fight these issues through town and county legislation. Currently, I am leading an initiative to help students understand the correlation between service and global change as well as make lasting connections with other local community leaders. I also lead Wheaton's Model UN team which has expanded my love for debate, diplomacy, and the on-the-spot problem solving that comes with any kind of activism. I believe that equality and the dismantling of oppression relies on the passions of students especially when they are equipped with local community interests into which to channel this energy.