Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard, Political Science; Todd Wiebe, Van Wylen Library

Document Type


Event Date



Previous research has found that many U.S. college students believe that politics is not about solving problems; rather, research has found that such students see politics as complicated, untrustworthy, pressuring, and often counterproductive to acting on the ills of society. There has been an array of survey research, policy analysis, and commentary that attempts to define, understand, and document the political engagement of young people since this portrayal of college students’ views of politics in the early 1990s. Some additional research has found that, among the greatest dangers for American political stability, is that politics in the minds and actions of the youth has become a nothing more than a negative, uninteresting topic that typically lacks significant representation. Furthermore, some argue that part of increasing political interest is focused towards the global political arena, the US engagement in a number of foreign wars, and the global economic crisis. Additional findings suggest that US college students have turned dramatically more negative in their view of the political trajectory of the United States, due to a feeling of higher connectivity between one another and a lack of faith in traditional politics. When focusing on US college student views on US foreign policy, students were dissatisfied and skeptical. We are assessing these findings in the context of a small, liberal arts, faith based institution. Thus, we consider the views of Hope College students on the issue of the immigration of Syrian refugees to the United States.