Political Science and Student Life
Similar to modern times, political science students during the 1970’s were very active members in campus organizations. Paul Cline’s memoirs in “Just a Little History” reveal that his students of political science were heavily involved in the Madison College Model UN, as was he. The James Madison University student newspaper, the Breeze, published articles throughout the decade regarding the activities of all prominent student organizations on campus. The focus on student involvement on campus is similar to the emphasis placed on involvement today with organizations such as Make Your Mark on Madison and others.
This article reveals that students involved in the SGA were offered course credit by the political science department for their service to the school. The offering of course credit for participation in the SGA lifted some of the burden off of the student participants, but also ensured that participants in the SGA would take their responsibility seriously. Since most of these students were political science majors, it is fitting that the credit be offered by the political science department. This is particularly interesting because the offering of course credit for participation in student organizations is unheard of today. Perhaps student involvement would be appealing to a broader range of students if credit was still offered.
Students of the political science department were also very involved in the Madison College Model United Nations. The organization had long been a part of the Madison campus, as seen in Paul Cline’s writings. However, during the 1970’s the Model UN suffered from a lack of funding. With the growth of the college reaching unprecedented levels, some on campus organizations were bound to be left out of the yearly fund allocation. This lack of funding created a struggle for the Model UN just to continue to exist. Despite this scare, the current James Madison University student still has the opportunity to be a part of the JMU Model UN and to this day the organizations is comprised of mainly political science students.
The students of the political science department were involved on the campus of Madison College in very specialized ways. Naturally, these students were interested in organizations that offered simulations of real-life government and international relations at work. This specialization created organizations in which, to this day, the political science department is healthily represented. The department also took the initiative to create an environment in which its students could explore their interests outside the classroom without making sacrifices in the classroom. The offering of course credit to students who participated in the Student Government Association allowed students to become heavily involved in extracurricular campus life without sacrificing grades. The political science department was a department with the well-being of its students always within sight.
To view Breeze articles in an easier to read format, just click to enlarge them.
Burch, Barbara. “Cable to Be Installed; Senators to Get Credit.” The Breeze [Harrisonburg] 7 Sept. 1976: n. pag. Print.
Lam, Sheila. “Madison Students Attend Model UN.” The Breeze [Harrisonburg] 27 Feb. 1976: 10. Print.
Wells, Roger. “Model UN Denied Funding.” The Breeze [Harrisonburg] 1979: n. pag. Print.