Tyler Ferrari, Chapman University '19, approaches political polarization knowing multiple viewpoints exist and he strives to foster their understanding. He is particularly attuned to seeking buy-in from and finding common ground between competing ideologies to develop policies that garner support and investment from a diverse group of people. His natural inclination is to build-bridges, to combat disenfranchisement by nurturing connections and social capital across difference.
Off campus, Tyler has sought and succeeded in internships with elected and appointed officials with whom he agreed and disagreed, using each as an opportunity to gain insight and skills for making politics work. On campus, Tyler has developed and facilitated deliberative dialogues over the past two years that have addressed topics such as gun legislation, immigration, and incarceration in the United States. He has also coordinated numerous voter engagement events to encourage political engagement and he looks forward to preparing for a lifetime in public service.
When I began my work as a Civic Engagement Assistant, the country was facing one of the most divisive elections in history. I was tasked with political engagement, which included planning debate screenings and registering Chapman students to vote. Throughout the election, Chapman worked to bridge partisan divides by discussing the issues relevant to the debates. We also educated students on party stances so that they can make accurate decisions on how to vote and understand perspectives that they may not agree with. In the post-election era, the polarization still remained, so my work shifted to "deliberative dialogues," where we gave students a space to learn about and discuss solutions to social and political problems in the United States. These events have led to better understanding on issues such as gun control and political polarization. The work done by myself and the rest of the civic engagement team has made Chapman more inclusive for all ideologies and viewpoints, and the campus is more politically aware and active than it was when I started school in 2015. This has led to more community involvement, which I believe will make our local and national communities better for all Americans.