Past Events


Stockton's American Democracy Project regularly develops programming and events that promote civic and political education and engagement for students, faculty, staff, and community members. See highlights from past ADP events below:

ADP logo

Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey: Lessons in Legalization from Other States 

Lecture and Q&A with Cannabis Policy Expert Dr. John Hudak

March 23, 2021 - In November 2020, voters in NJ approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for adults over age 21. The state is now confronting the task of developing and implementing the regulatory framework that will structure how legal marijuana will be grown and sold in New Jersey. 

In this informative lecture and Q&A event, guest speaker Dr. John Hudak, Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, discussed marijuana legalization and what New Jersey can learn from other states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Dr. Hudak is a highly regarded expert on cannabis policy and regulations. His 2016 book, Marijuana: A Short History, which has been recently updated and reissued, offers a unique, up-to-date profile of how cannabis emerged from the shadows of illegality to become a serious, even mainstream, public policy issue and source of legal revenue for both businesses and governments. His recent analysis of cannabis policy developments can be found on the Brookings Institution's FixGov blog

Protesting and Civic Engagement: Students’ Lessons from the Streets

October 21, 2020 - In this panel discussion, Stockton student leaders who have led recent protests for racial justice talked about about their experience and Stockton faculty shared research about the political activism in summer 2020.

Panelists: Danielle Combs, Irenonsen Eigbe, Michael Killebrew, Amaiya Roundtree, Dr. Lauren Balasco (POLS), and Dr. Nusret Sahin (CRIM)

Reflecting on 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act  

These three virtual events that focused on the advocacy and activism that helped secure the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other protections for the disabled community as well as the ongoing work of disability rights activists that continues today. These events were co-sponsored by the Disability Studies Minor, the Office of Residence Life and the Master of Arts in American Studies. 


Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution Film Screening and Panel Discussion

November 10, 2020 -- Panelists: Taylor Savath and Lydia Fecteau (General Studies); Moderated by Priti Haria (Education)


A Conversation with Disability Rights Activist Judy Heumann

November 12, 2020 -- Ms. Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people, advancing disability rights nationally and globally. She has been a leader and founding member of key disability rights organizations, including the Berkeley Center for Independent Living and the World Institute on Disability. Ms. Heumann served in the Clinton Department of Education (1993-2001) and the Obama Department of State (2010-2017) and served as the World Bank's first Adviser on Disability and Development (2002-2006).

In this interactive Q&A, we heard about Ms. Heumann’s advocacy and activism and had the opportunity to learn from her example.

For more resources about Judy Heumann and her pathbreaking work advancing disability rights: 

Who Counts? Census 2020 Series

Every 10 years, the United States Census counts each resident of the country. The information collected during the Census is used in many important ways, including determining funding states receive from federal programs and representation in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.

In the Who Counts? Census 2020 Series, ADP/PEP brought together experts to discuss the Census, its design, its administration and its effects. This series emphasized why it is important to get a complete count of the U.S. population and what can make it hard to count all residents in the country and in our South Jersey community in particular. Sessions also offered practical tips on how to participate in the 2020 Census and how to use Census data effectively.


Who Counts? A Primer on the 2020 Census with Lori Carlin (Census Bureau) and Frances Brown (Altantic County Department of Regional Planning and Development)

February 10, 2020 - In this presentation, we discussed the important ways we use Census data, including in allocating federal funds for health care, infrastructure, and social programs, and determining representation in the House of Representatives and state legislatures, and what populations are hard to count in our community. 


Citizenship and the Census with Claire Abernathy (Political Science) 

February 25, 2020 - In this presentation, we shared information about the Trump administration's failed efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  

Who Counts series

Women and Politics: Unfinished Business with Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University

March 4, 2020 - Debbie Walsh joined the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) staff in 1981 and became the director in 2001. She oversees CAWP's multi-faceted programs that include leadership and campaign training programs, research illuminating women's distinctive contributions, roles and experiences in politics and government, and up-to-the-minute information and historical perspectives about women as candidates, public officials and voters.

Ms. Walsh delivered a talk on focused on the current status of women's political involvement and what's on the horizon in this election year. Ms. Walsh also explored questions about the role of women going forward and whether we can expect continued change in women's political behavior.

Co-sponsorsConstitution Day Planning Committee and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor

Debbie Walsh

The Prosecutors Film Screening and Panel Discussion 

March 9, 2020 - The Prosecutors follows three attorneys in their work on cases of sexual violence in conflict zones, including Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In this event, we hosted a screening of this powerful film followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Lauren Balasco (Political Science), Dr. Tina Zappile (Political Science), Dr. Christina Morus (Communication Studies) and Political Science student Mariam Eskandar. 

Co-sponsorsGlobal Studies minor, Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies program, Model UN, and Amnesty International


Life Histories and East German Memory Culture After the Fall of the Wall

With Dr. Mary Beth Stein, Associate Professor of German and International Affairs at George Washington University

Dr. Stein’s recent work has focused on East German life histories. In her remarks she presented her research on the experience of a range of people living in East Germany--both supporters of the regime and political dissidents--and what we can learn from their stories. Dr. Stein, whose expertise is in folklore, literature and German studies, brought her unique interdisciplinary perspective to this event.



Climate Change and the Green New Deal Series

The Green New Deal is a wide-ranging policy developed by members of the Democratic party to mobilize investment in projects that will address climate change and its effects. In the Climate Change and the Green New Deal Series, ADP/PEP brought together experts to discuss the scientific feasibility of the Green New Deal, the environmental justice approach of the plan, and the potential impacts of the proposal for our local Atlantic City community. 

Environmental Justice: A Different Approach to Justice and the Environment With Christina Jackson (Sociology) and the New Jersey Organizing Project

October 7, 2019 -- This presentation considered how environmental harms are not borne equally across society and how environmental justice and community organizing can be part of addressing climate change and developing environmental policy.

Lessons from Sandy: Examining the Local Effects of the Green New Deal With New Jersey Organizing Project and Christina Jackson (Sociology)

October 24, 2019 - This presentation focused on the emerging needs of the community, considering the local environmental changes already evident in Atlantic City and how policy could effectively address these new challenges.

The Science of the Green New Deal WIth Patrick Hossay (Sustainability) and Ron Hutchison (Biology)

October 28, 2019 - In this panel conversation, Drs. Hossay and Hutchison discussed the current status of renewable energy technologies and sustainable agriculture as well as the benefits and economic viability of existing and emerging technologies.

Deliberative Dialogue Series

Deliberation around political issues is key to the functioning of a healthy democratic society. In Spring 2019, ADP/PEP created opporutnities for the Stockton community to deliberate about complex political and social problems through the Deliberative Dialogue series.  

This series had two parts--deliberation moderator training and deliberative dialogues:

  • In training sessions that focused on how to moderate structured deliberation sessions, participants developed skills in listening to diverse views and in making the space for all views to be heard. 
  • In a set of deliberative dialogue forums, participants engaged in discussion about several different pressing public policy challenges, including how to address the opioid epidemic, how to regulate driverless vehicle technology, and how to fix problems in the American political system. 


Political System Dialogue


Driverless Cars Dialogue

Mandy Manning, National Teacher of the Year, Discusses Child Detention in America 

After learning about the conditions in detention facilities, Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, formed Teachers Against Child Detention, an alliance between teachers, immigrant rights advocates, and organizations and people concerned about the welfare of immigrant children. In March 2019, Ms. Manning delivered remarks at Stockton about child detention and about her experience forming an advocacy organization. 

Following her remarks, Ms. Manning was joined by Stacey Culleny (Education), Christine Gayda-Chelder (Psychology) and Jess Bonnan-White (Criminal Justice) for a panel discussion about the educational and psychological impact of detention for children. 

This event was co-sponsored by ADP/PEP, the School of Education, and the Migration Studies Minor.

Mandy Manning

Mandy Manning Panel

Redistricting Reform for a Fairer New Jersey: Public Forum

In February 2019, ADP/PEP partnered with the League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the Atlantic City branch of the NAACP for a conversation about redistricting, the impact of gerrymandering in our communities, and ways we can reform the process in New Jersey.

Redistricting presentation

Redistricting crowd

Alternatives to Opioids: Holistic Approaches to Address Opioid Addiction 

November 15, 2018 -- This panel discussion focused on different approaches to reverse course on opioids and address this public health emergency. The panelists discussed options available other than opioids, considering front-end prevention strategies and diversion to other treatment options to keep people from using opioids in the first place. They also discussed replacement options to facilitate recovery from opioid addiction.

Panelists: Sreelekha Prakash (Health Science), Thomas Nolan (Physical Therapy), and John Guers (Exercise Science)                        -- Moderator: Claire Abernathy (Political Science)

How to Steal an Election Series 

In the How to Steal an Election series, ADP/PEP brought together experts to discuss the integrity of elections in the United States and abroad. The goal of this series was to deepen our understanding of the threats to electoral security and to consider policies that could strengthen our elections. 

An African Election

October 25, 2018 -- ADP/PEP hosted a screening of An African Election, a documentary focused on the 2008 election in Ghana. Lauren Balasco (Political Science) opened the screening with a presentation about the Ghanian political context and led a discussion with students following the film. 

An African Election

Trolling Democracy: Facebook, Fake News, and Data-Driven "Meddling"

October 16, 2018 -- In this informative presentation, Jennifer Forestal (Political Science) discussed different online and technological threats to democratic institutions and integrity. 

Jennifer Forestal

Election Security in the U.S. and Abroad

September 24, 2018 -- This panel discussion considered timely and important challenges facing U.S. and international elections as well as policies that can strengthen the legitimacy of elections. 

Panelists: Claire Abernathy (Political Science), Lauren Balasco (Political Science) and Sarah Bush (Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University) 

Political Advocacy and Action Festival

October 4, 2018 -- Stockton's first Political Advocacy and Action Festival brought together student clubs and organizations to share information about the social and political issues that they care about, raising awareness about their causes and helping Festival attendees channel their new knowledge into political activism. 



How Do We Address the Opioid Crisis? A Panel on Understanding and Dealing with Opioid Addiction 

April 11, 2018 -- In this panel discussion, the current opioid crisis is considered through the lens of four different disciplinary perspectives. 

Panelists: Nathaniel Hartman (Biology), Jack Lewis (Social Work), Michele Previti (Health Science), Luanne Anton (Wellness Center) -- Moderator: John Guers (Exercise Science)

Engage Atlantic City Series 

In the Engage Atlantic City series, ADP/PEP brought together experts from Stockton's campus and the Atlantic City community to discuss important issues facing the city. The goal of this series was to deepen our understanding and engagement with this rich and complex city in preparation for the opening of Stockton's Atlantic City Gateway campus in Fall 2018. 

Atlantic City Story: Stockton's Immersion in the City On the Atlantic City Story podcast, journalists from The Press of Atlantic City discussed ADP/PEP's Engage Atlantic City series with ADP/PEP Faculty Co-Chair Dr. Claire Abernathy

Voices from Atlantic City: Revitalizing Community in a Changing Economy

April 9, 2018 -- At this event, ADP/PEP featured a screening of the Voices from Atlantic City documentary followed by a panel discussion focused on how to build the city's economy and invest in the Atlantic City community, and how Stockton can contribute to those efforts as our presence in the city grows. 

Panelists: Deborah M. Figart (Economics), Ellen Mutari (Economics), Merydawilda Colón (Executive Director, Stockton Center for Community Engagement), Evan Sanchez (Co-Founder, Authentic City Partners and ThisIsAC) -- Moderator: Lauren Balasco (Political Science)


At Stockton's Engage Atlantic City series, Officials Say Think About 'Our City' This engaging panel discussion was profiled by The Press of Atlantic City 

Deliberative Dialogue on Public Health in Atlantic City 

April 17, 2018 -- In these interactive sessions, Stockton students moderated discussions with their peers about different policy ideas for improving public health outcomes in Atlantic City. 

Public Health Dialogue

Public Health Dialogue 2

Political Engagement Project Helps Students Engage with Atlantic City SNJ Today profiled our deliberative dialogue event

Politics and Activism in a Diverse Community: A Panel on Race, Ethnicity, Politics, and Policy in Atlantic City

February 23, 2018 -- This informative panel discussion engaged with the topics of race, ethnicity, community, policy, and activism in Atlantic City.

Panelists: Christina Jackson (Sociology), Michael Rodriguez (Political Science), Alejandra Londono (Sociology/Anthropology senior) -- Moderator: Jennifer Forestal (Political Science)


The Atlantic City Experience: The Past as Prologue

Heather Perez, History of AC Presentation

February 8, 2018 -- In this engaging presentation, Heather Perez, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist with Stockton's Richard E. Bjork's Library, shared images and stories of Atlantic City's rich history.


Elections with ADP/PEP

During election season each fall, ADP/PEP hosts lectures to help members of the Stockton community navigate and understand the key issues and institutions in the election and parties to mark the key moments of the election cycle. 


Why is My Voting District Shaped Like a Pterodactyl? How We Draw Districts in the U.S. and Gerrymandering: What Politicians Don't Want You to Know 

October 8, 2018 -- Guest Speaker Brian Cannon, Executive Director, OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting

Brian Cannon

Brian Cannon


When Ceilings Break, Walls Still Stand: The Status of Women in American Politics in 2016

October 4, 2016 -- Guest Speaker Kelly Dittmar, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University

Guest Lecture from Kelly Dittmar


Foreign Policy in the 2016 Election and Beyond

October 11, 2016 -- Tina Zappile, Associate Professor of Political Science

Zappile Lecture


There's More to Vote for than President? New Jersey Politics in 2016

October 18, 2016 -- Dan Mallinson, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Mallinson Lecture



What Could Change on Capitol Hill? Congressional Elections in 2016

November 3, 2016 -- Claire Abernathy, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Abernathy lecture


Debate Watching Parties, 2016

Debate Watching Party



Debate Watching Party


Helping Students Register to Vote and Request Vote By Mail Ballots at the Absentee Ballot Party, 2016

Absentee Ballot Party




Absentee Ballot Party, 2017

Absentee Ballot Party


Election Day Party, 2016

Election Day Watch Party


Guess the Electoral College Results game at Election Day Party, 2016

Electoral College projections game


Who Said What game at Election Day Party, 2016

Who Said What Game