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Political Engagement Activist, Best-Selling Author Paul Loeb Speaks at UI March 1

February 11, 2016

Best-selling author Paul Loeb will tell students why their opinions matter — and how to make their voices heard — when he speaks next month at the University of Idaho.

His talk, titled “Soul of a Citizen: Making a Difference in Challenging Times,” will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in the Vandal Ballroom of the Bruce M. Pitman Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Loeb is the author of “Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time” (1999, revised in 2010), the editor of “The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide for Hope in a Time of Fear” (revised in 2014), and the author of three other books with more than 300,000 total copies in print. He has spoken on more than 400 college campuses, including at the University of Idaho in 2008.

He is also the founder of the Campus Election Engagement Project, a national non-partisan campaign to help America’s colleges and universities motivate their 20 million students to register, volunteer in campaigns, educate themselves about candidates and issues, and vote.

“Paul Loeb’s visit to the university couldn’t come at a better time in this election year,” said Priscilla Salant, director of UI’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, which is sponsoring his visit. March 1 is Super Tuesday – when 14 states will hold primaries or caucuses – and media attention will be focused on the race for the White House.

“Mr. Loeb’s talk will help us focus on the importance of engaging in the democratic process, regardless of political beliefs or partisan affiliation,” Salant said. “He will also offer practical tips for staying involved, while avoiding burnout and cynicism.”

As part of his two-day visit to UI, Loeb will also speak to journalism and political science classes, meet with faculty who teach Integrated Seminars (ISEMs) in the General Education program, and have lunch with student leaders. The School of Journalism and Mass Media and the Department of Student Involvement are helping to coordinate activities.

Loeb’s books have been widely praised for inspiring students and others to get involved in their communities and offering practical solutions to organizing for social changes. In the introduction to the 2010 edition of “Soul of a Citizen,” he wrote: “I hope it will offer ways to keep your commitment alive, tap wellsprings of creativity and optimism, and remind you of the personal power of your actions.”

Salant described Loeb’s message as consistent with the McClure Center’s goal of engaging UI students in learning about public policy making.

“We welcome this opportunity to promote a campus-wide dialogue about ways for students to boost their civic awareness and raise their appreciation for the value of volunteerism and public service,” she said.

Priscilla Salant
Director, UI McClure Center for Public Policy Research
(208) 364-4549

Paul Loeb

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit