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WILSON, N.C. – “When I left that lecture, I was just completely amazed about how much we’re in debt and how much it affects us. It’s not going to affect their generation; but since we’re the newer generation coming along, it affects us more than anybody right now. I thought it was a good lecture, and I learned a lot.”
That was how Barton freshman Cat Tippette summarized her reaction to the lecture given by 1968 Barton alumnus and United States Representative Walter Jones.
The congressman from North Carolina’s 3rd District appeared on campus on March 24, to speak on “The Economic Future of America.” Covering topics such as the national debt, illegal immigration, the war in Iraq, and China’s imminent threat to the stability of our economy, Jones’ lecture painted a bleak picture.
“We are a debtor nation. We are borrowing money everyday to pay our bills, and that is not a good situation to be in,” said Jones.
Strongly stressing the economy’s critical condition, he sought to involve the younger generation in seeking a solution.
“The reason I want to speak to you young people is because you can make a difference,” said Jones encouraging the students to vote and email Congress.
“I felt like I was more informed as someone who can vote. I understood where he stood on the issues, and the issues were more defined for me,” stated sophomore Mallory Magelli.
“It made me think. It definitely impacted my own personal life and made me realize that you’ve got to get a little bit more involved,” said freshman Savannah Fulton.
Fulton confessed to having no intention of voting before hearing Rep. Jones: “I didn’t care. I definitely do now.”
Associate professor of geography, Dr. Jean Palmer-Moloney coordinated the event after Rep. Jones in a previous meeting had mentioned that he would like to speak at Barton.
“I think the more we can present people in the world who are dealing with the issues we’re trying to teach in class, the more effective it is,” said Palmer-Moloney.
She also recognized the unique experience the lecture provided to Barton’s students:
“How incredible is it to have a United States representative in a room where he can look you in the eye and be able to take a question from you with no microphone!”
Palmer-Moloney, who sees Barton’s small size as a plus, stated, “You can have the chance to build personal relationships with your professors. You can have some incredible, unique opportunities to meet these guest speakers, to actually ask them questions, to hang out with them after their formal lecture’s over.”
Being able to see and hear the congressman in person draws the doings of D.C. down to a more personal level; and at an institution that boasts “College on a first-name basis,” that’s only fitting.
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