Ryann Hudson, a junior at SUNY Cortland, is a leader in strengthening the culture of civil civic engagement at SUNY Cortland and in the greater Cortland community.
Through her initiative and teamwork, she has increased the number of activities at which SUNY Cortland students can discuss and address contentious issues in civil and informed ways. Her efforts have also increased the number of students who participate in such events, which include deliberative dialogues and town hall meetings. Hudson co-directs student/community member taskforces that grew out of the dialogues; those taskforces are tackling concerns regarding freedom of speech, low voter turn-out, homelessness, and local climate change-enhanced extreme weather events.
As an Institute for Civic Engagement Action Team intern, she partners with four student clubs, including Young Democrats and College Republicans. Hudson is treasurer of SUNY Cortland's Political Science Association, she co-created the campus' Generation Vote organization, and she is the first SUNY Cortland student to be elected to the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Cortland County.
Ryann Hudson embodies SUNY Cortland's mission: She is a student who grows as an engaged citizen with a strong social conscience.
I have seen how polarized the world has become in the last few years and how people with differing opinions and beliefs have had an increasingly harder time talking with one another. I, myself, had trouble talking and listening to people who had different political views from my own. When I first got involved with the SUNY Cortland Institute for Civic Engagement, I was drawn by the voter
education project. This project is about getting people from differing backgrounds with contrasting positions to all sit together and to talk about relevant topics, such as gun control and immigration. We then find some sort of common ground to build upon and create an action plan that
everyone can agree upon. Clearly, a step in the right direction for building our community. I have been a part of this project for three semesters and have helped plan and moderate five amazing dialogues. The role of young voters in our political environment is something that I believe is vitally important; young voters deserve a seat at the table. I have been so thankful and proud that
I have been able to accomplish a part of educating and registering the voters of our campus.