Thursday, October 29, 2009

CT Editorial: Candidate Bryce Carter's efficacy evident in his work

I am truly honored by my good friend Chris Cox, who I consider a passionate leader of whom I find personal inspiration, use his Collegiate Times column to recognize me for the upcoming election. This was unexpected and what he wrote is very touching.


Collegiate Times: Candidate Bryce Carter's efficacy evident in his work

Christopher Cox, regular Collegiate Times columnist

The greater part of my last fall semester consisted of running the Virginia Tech chapter of Students for Barack Obama. My role called me to spur others to political action, which is superficially recognized as bothering a lot of people to vote.

I found the inspiration to bother so many people from the sincere and still-believed truth that I could make a difference among a cacophony of opinions, distractions and individual pursuits.

The belief that one can make a difference is called efficacy. Efficacy, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the power to produce an effect. It is manifested in the way people spend their time, which, because we’ve created the cultural “work week,” can be measured.

It’s easy and convenient to not believe in your own efficacy. If you don’t believe you have it, you don’t have to feel responsible for the outcomes of your efforts or how you spend your time.

My organization’s efforts last fall — alongside many other politically active groups in Montgomery County — registered more than 6,000 voters. Many of these voters were students, and some were casting ballots for the very first time. We are now in a very unique position as a student body to politically engage with the community in which we spend the majority of our time: Blacksburg. We make up more than 60 percent of the Blacksburg population and have no voice on Blacksburg Town Council.

We have a chance to change this on Nov. 3.

I have a close friend who has a profound and fundamental knowledge of his own efficacy. His efficacy is rooted in years of activism as a student and community organizer, and he is emboldened with unique experiences in regard to addressing issues of equity, community and environment. His name is Bryce Carter, and he’s running for Blacksburg Town Council.

I had the opportunity to listen to all the town council candidates at the SGA-hosted debate last week — and it became clear which of them have a working knowledge of the concepts of “sustainability” and “community.”

With the specter of “urban growth” thrown around among the candidates, I find solace in my knowledge of Bryce’s experience as an advocate for “smart growth” and his commitment to cooperation in producing change. An example of such a commitment has manifested in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, which he helped draft as a leader of the Environmental Coalition.

What all the candidates did have in common during the debate was a reverence for Bryce’s ideas.

Bringing the town of Blacksburg Web site to Web 2.0-standards and setting up a Student Advisory Committee to provide input in town decision-making are just two of Bryce’s initiatives that have quickly been picked up and espoused by all the candidates.

I know very few other people as committed as Bryce to serving the student community and Blacksburg in the pursuit of our common goals, and if our values can be measured by how we spend our time, the position of town council member wouldn’t even do Bryce justice.

Bryce’s commitment to public service and his willingness to engage with others, no matter how outwardly friendly they may be, or whether their values align with his own, is evidence enough for me to fully support his endeavors in this election.

More importantly, I am thoroughly convinced Bryce Carter deserves my vote because he does not need to be convinced of his own efficacy — he lives it.

Bryce is an example of who we all hope to be within our academic fields and among our communities: respected leaders who spend their time and commit their efforts to serving their friends and families without sacrificing their values.

Perhaps living our efficacy is the only way to learn how to make our envisioned hopes and dreams real. You’ll never know your own power unless you choose to exercise it.

Original Article

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