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Lehigh students to discuss nationally published works

Two Lehigh students will host a reading at the Lehigh University Bookstore at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to promote their contributions to an anthology titled, What We Think: Young Voters Speak Out (College Tree Publishing).

Eamon Aloyo and Hailey Witt will discuss their writings that are included in the compilation of essays from college-aged adults. The book, which has been featured on CNN, MSNBC and C-Span Book TV, offers nearly 90 writers’ reflections on a host of topics, including the war in Iraq, organized religion’s place in the political arena, the morality of armed conflict, gender equality, affirmative action, and the draft.

Aloyo, a graduate student in political science, is one of only eight contributors with previously published works. His essay, “Metamorphosing Hours in Ramallah” is a first-hand account of his experience and travels in Middle East. His second piece,“Probing Terrorism,” provides further perspective.

Aloyo says he wrote about the issues of terrorism in the Middle East because he thinks it is perhaps the most pressing—and misunderstood—issue in the world today.

“For the vast majority of people,” Aloyo says, “fighting terrorism means the government violently responding to the few who are also violent, instead of examining and changing the policies that cause the violence.”

Witt, a political science major, contributed “Bush, Religion and Iraq,” which tackles the relationship of the Bush administration, its religious leanings, and the war in Iraq.

Battling the perception of young voter apathy

Believing that young Americans with strong opinions like Aloyo and Witt were the rule rather than the exception, the publishers—Rob Grabow, a Democrat, and Dean Robbins, a Republican—developed the concept for What We Think in July 2004. Their primary criteria for author submissions were creativity of presentation, cultural significance of topic, and quality of writing.

“We imagined a forum for expression of ideas that was not segregated by partisanship of any kind, but rather a united vision for a strengthened community now and in the future,” Robbins says.

Adds Grabow: “There are 34 million 18-to-24-year-olds who are as socially and politically engaged as the general American populace. Yet there has been no national medium through which we can express our ideas and reflections. I doubt that any reader, after reading this book, will believe that young voters in the U.S. are apathetic.”

In addition to features on the project in mainstream media outlets, the authors of the book have been invited to speak before the Youth Vote Coalition, the Presidential Classroom, and have regular dialogues with MTV and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The pair is currently compiling submissions for the second and third volumes of their anthology series, tentatively titled What We Think II and What We Think: About God,” which are both targeted for a Spring 2005 release.

More information is available about the projects at the College Tree PublishingWeb site.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2005

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