Search for citizen study leads Harvard grad to BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jamie Piltch’s search for the true definition of a good citizen brought him to Bowling Green. Piltch, 23, is on a trek through the so-called rust and sun belts of the U.S. to discover whether Americans still care about being good citizens. His journey started in Washington, D.C., in May, then on to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, then Bowling Green. From here, the recent Harvard grad was headed to Detroit, Saginaw, South Bend, Chicago, then onto Wisconsin and Iowa before heading south. Along the way, Piltch, is interviewing all types of people about their views on citizenship. Some of those interviews – including some done here in Bowling Green – are being posted on his blog He sat down at Grounds for Thought and talked with business owner Floyd Craft and city attorney Mike Marsh. While in Bowling Green, he also spoke with an Afghanistan war veteran, a soon-to-be naturalized citizen, and a secretarial assistant at BGSU. Their views on citizenship can also be found on Piltch’s blog. Piltch, originally from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, hasn’t always fascinated by the meaning of being an American citizen. “Like most young people, I spent the first 20 years of my life mildly disinterested in politics. I voted in the 2012 presidential election, a moment of personal pride. But, outside of getting my license, I didn’t really interact with the government. I never voted in a local election and rarely thought about my town’s needs. I didn’t even consider doing those things.” However, he is the son of two teachers, steeping him in “nerd” genes. “During college, though, I took a class on American democracy that changed my feelings about politics. Class discussion made it clear to me that normal, everyday citizens like myself mattered,” he said. “I spent my final half of college learning about citizenship. I read about citizens’ duties and tried to figure out how we could all be good citizens. More than anything, I tried to learn whether people still cared about being good citizens. “As I approached graduation, I wanted answers….