As everyone should be fully aware of by now, the 2012 presidential election is coming up very soon, sooner than most people are probably comfortable with.
For a college student, the time needed to fully research candidates for office can appear incredibly daunting in consideration of all other obligations, particularly academics and extracurricular activities. To address this, John Carroll University has decided to extend a hand, and not only aid but also encourage students to become involved in the upcoming election through the “Streak the Vote” campaign.
“Streak the Vote” is a campaign comprised of students, faculty and staff that is designed to help students register to vote, become well informed about the issues and, ultimately, in November, get to the polls and vote. This is the second time this kind of campaign has surfaced on campus. In 2008, “Carroll Counts” was created with the same goals – to get students involved with the election process.
This semester, “Streak the Vote” is hosting several events to get students interested in the election process, help them learn what the candidates stand for and hopefully get them excited about the upcoming election.
The kick-off took place last Wednesday, Sept. 19, which was Constitution Day. The featured speaker was David Wilhelm, a former campaign manager and the former chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 1990s.
Students were also interviewed around campus last week about the issues that are most important to them in the upcoming election. These interviews were compiled into a video that is available to see on the “Streak to Vote” website, and it will hopefully get others excited to talk about the issues and vote, according to Lisa Ramsey, director of student activities.
Some other events that will be starting next week include a mock election from Oct. 1-7. According to Pat Caruso, communications coordinator for student affairs, the purpose of the mock election is to generate interest in the “real deal” as well as get people interested in voting before the October 9 registration deadline.
“We’ll be polling students, faculty, and staff via an online ballot that will include President and Vice President as well as Senate,” Caruso said. “Voters [will] pick which state they will vote in and if there’s a Senate race, it’ll appear on the ballot.”
On Oct. 3, “Streak the Vote” is holding a watch party during the presidential debate. The debate watch party is being sponsored by Student Union, the JCU Conservatives and the College Democrats, and will give students a chance to look at the issues from both parties’ perspectives. This event will take place at 8:30 p.m. in the LSC Conference Room, and is open to all interested in attending.
Ramsey said the goals of the initiative are to help students become civically engaged and understand how important their vote can be. “We also hope to foster dialogue about important issues in order for students to learn about each other,” she said.
Ramsey expressed her belief that , as a higher education institution, must facilitate students in becoming knowledgeable about issues that could potentially shape their lives, and furthermore get them registered to vote so that each person can make a difference.
“It is exciting to see students from both ‘sides of the aisle’ working to make this happen,” she said.