Achieving the Promise: Democracy and the Informed Citizen

ATP logoLander University builds upon its legacy of civic engagement by providing a distinct set of opportunities and experiences for its campus community and the citizens within the seven counties of the Lakelands region. With a diverse student population of 3,000 located in Greenwood, Lander is poised to help its local community establish a vibrant civic life characterized by rich town-gown relations.

The Achieving the Promise (AtP) Series is sponsored by a grant from the SC Humanities and includes a partnership with the Index-Journal (a locally owned community newspaper). It contains eight programmatic elements in creatively engaging both academic and civic communities. AtP brings humanities scholars, journalists, public office seekers and holders, civic leaders, students, and citizens into an extended conversation on cultivating an informed citizenry.

The project’s goals are:

  • empower and enlighten students and community members on how to be informed citizens and model good political dialogue in a contentious political environment;
  • teach about civic engagement and life in a pluralist democracy;
  • analyze the role of the media in the 21st century; and
  • improve town-gown relations.


Upcoming Grant-Related Events

  • Nov. 1, 6:00-8:00. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. “Political Candidate Forum
    This forum, co-sponsored with the Index-Journal, brings before a public audience various office-seekers who will speak on what brought them into public life and what their platforms are for national, state, or local office. Invitations will be sent to candidates for U.S. House, S.C. House, Mayor of Greenwood, and local school board seats.
    Moderators: Dr. Lucas McMillan & Mr. Richard Whiting (Editor, Index-Journal)
    Submit question here
  • Nov. 7, 5:30-7:00. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. “Panel on Civic Engagement”
    Following Election Day on Nov. 6, this panel ensures that we understand civic engagement to be much more than simply voting. This panel will address such questions as: What motivates us for civic engagement? What forms have proved successful? What role(s) do individuals in their professions have as citizens? How do we get involved? The panel draws upon distinct civic experiences from a diverse collection of citizens, who, in telling their stories will open up the civic imagination.
    Panelists:  Mr. Bob Inglis (Executive Director, Energy and Enterprise Initiative, George Mason University; fmr. U.S. Congressman), Ms. Lisa Lane and Ms. Susan Sachs
    (Co-Founders and Co-Executive Director of Project HOPE Foundation), Rev. Christopher B. Thomas (Director, GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site) and Mr. Jason Zacher (Senior VP for Business Advocacy, Greenville Chamber of Commerce)
    Moderator:  Dr. Ashley Woodiwiss​
  • Nov. 13, 3:30-4:45. Carnell Learning Center LC 300. Public Lecture on Briggs v. Elliott (1952)
    The S.C. case that later inspired Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Delivered by Dr. Kimberly Richburg, a native of Clarendon County whose uncle participated in the case, this lecture presents a vivid illustration how, in a rightly constituted democracy, the powerless still possess power.
  • Jan. 22, 3:30-4:45. Carnell Learning Center LC 300. Campus talks by Lander students who attended the NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership South Carolina conference at Winthrop University.
    These students will present first-person accounts of their experience at the May 2018 conference and how this has positioned them for future civic engagement.
    Speakers: Ms. Courtney Cannon, Ms. Kaitlynn Strahl, & Ms. Kathryn Wypasek​
    Moderator: Dr. Lucas McMillan
  • Late January or early February.  Op-Ed essays published in Index-Journal
    The newspaper will provide a story explaining this element of the AtP project and publish five Lander students’ op-ed essays. These essays will be selected by a Lander faculty review team and come from assignments within selected fall courses in POLS and Mass Comm.
  • Feb. 12, 5:30-7:00. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. Panel: “Journalism in S.C. Public Life”
    This panel probes the current state of journalism and public life through the experience and reflections of veteran members of the media in South Carolina. What are the civic benefits of journalism? What particular challenges does journalism confront? What is to be done? Panelists will help the audience analyze different forms of media and the advantages and disadvantages of types of sources (for understanding policy, societal needs, and reflection upon civic engagement, and the vital place of the media in American democracy.)
    Panelists: Mr. Andy Brack (Publisher, SC Statehouse Report), Mr. Andy Shain (Columbia Bureau Chief, The Post and Courier), Mr. Russ McKinney (Reporter, ETV Radio)
    Invited: Ms. Seanna Adcox (Assistant Columbia Bureau Chief, The Post and Courier)
    Moderator: Dr. Brent Nelsen (Professor of Political Science, Furman University; Chair, SCETV Commission; fmr. board member, Corporation for Public Broadcasting)
  • Feb. 25, 5:30-7:30. Carnell Learning Center LC 300. Greenwood City Council meeting on Lander’s campus
    Welcome by Dr. Lucas McMillan
    Moderator of Q&A session from students’ questions: Mr. Charlie Barrineau, City Mgr.
  • March or April.  A special edition of The Forum, Lander’s campus newspaper, is published.
    The Forum, Lander’s campus newspaper, will publish a special edition on civic engagement


Past Events

  • Sept. 18, Constitution Day speech 
  • Sept. 28 and Oct. 1-2, Voter Registration Campaign


SC Humanities

The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.