Participate! Don’t Spectate!

Katy Montgomery

Katy currently serves as the Global Director of the Career Development Centre at INSEAD where she manages career services professionals across three campuses: Abu Dhabi, Fontainebleau, and Singapore. Katy previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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Unless you are living under a rock, you know that Election Day is exactly a week from today: November 8, 2016. Last week, I had the honor of voting early in DC. I arrived at the early voting poll location, One Judiciary Square, around 11:30 AM and stood in line with other DC residents for the privilege to vote. My wait was approximately one hour. The wait was easy for me. For others, including the man behind me who shared that his sciatica was giving him terrible back and leg pain, the wait was not as easy. In line, I observed people with canes and adults who needed help getting up from the seated position. Despite experiencing great discomfort, these people waited in line patiently.

Voting line.

Also in line were first-time voters and people who voted for President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. All were excited to participate in the voting process. They all chose to engage in the community activity of voting in DC, which included live music; just check out the video below.

Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry said the following:

“Life is for participating, not for spectating.”

I was inspired by those who came to vote despite inconvenience or discomfort. They were participating, not spectating by just sitting around and watching the election results (or even worse, complain about the results without taking the time and energy to cast a vote).

In a few weeks, after our first meetings in early November, the Student Development Office (SDO) will be announcing the 24 SDO Student Advisory Board members. Ten students representing four Academic Programs comprise the DC Board and fourteen students representing five Academic Programs comprise the Harbor East Board. These students were competitively selected through an application process. SDO would like to thank these students for their service and to all students who submitted an application.

The selected students are participating, not spectating. They may not have a severe case of sciatica like the man behind me waiting to vote, but they do have jobs, families, obligations, and other time commitments. Nonetheless, they chose to actively work with SDO to realize innovate initiatives and programs. They are engaging in the Carey community. And I am inspired.

How are you being a participant?

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