Younger voters consistently fail to engage in American politics and rarely view political issues as pertinent enough to warrant participation. An agricultural issue on the November, 2009, Ohio ballot presented a unique opportunity to encourage student participation in politics. The proposed constitutional amendment (Issue 2) would create an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board responsible for establishing animal care guidelines. This proposal was in response to legislation passed in other states. Fifty-nine students enrolled in three undergraduate animal science courses were administered pre- and posttests. These students designed and implemented projects to educate voters on Issue 2, which they evaluated upon completion. Student projects included passive education, social networking, website development, radio, email and active campaigning. On a 1-10 Likert scale, pre-assignment familiarity scores were 2.47 2.01, 5.29 2.83, and 2.95 2.61 for Issues 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Postassignment familiarity scores increased on Issue 2 to 8.83 1.79 (p < 0.001) and Issue 3 to 6.52 2.44 (p < 0.05). Similarly, students' overall knowledge of Issue 2 increased (p < 0.01) between pre-test (42.1%) and post-test (70.7%) scores. This activity increased students' perception and knowledge of contemporary ballot issues while actively engaging them in the political system.



political activism in animal agriculture courses, voter participation, political issues

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