Rally for voter registration SMA, SGA and NAACP promote students’ political awareness

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Rally for voter registration SMA, SGA and NAACP promote students’ political awareness

Photo by: Hannah Lyles

Photo by: Hannah Lyles

Photo by: Hannah Lyles

SGA, SMA, NAACP, College Republicans and College Democrats help students sign up to vote for the upcoming election in the UC.

Robyn McNeil, Staff Writer

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Students became registered voters and were informed about current political issues during a mass voter registration rally in honor of the 2012 Presidential Election on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd in the University Commons.

Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Jessica Wright, a junior majoring in mass communications, explained that the purpose of the event was to increase the number of young voters and inform them about the topics of discussion for the presidential election.

“This event is significant because students need to understand what is going on in politics,” Wright said.  “Who we vote for determines a lot, such as funding for education and provisions for health care.”

The voter registration rally was organized and sponsored by several of the university’s organizations.  SGA, in partnership with the Student Media Association (SMA) and the NAACP, were responsible for the production of the event and registering voters.  FMU’s political clubs, College Democrats and College Republicans, served on panel for the political awareness forum of the event.

Each of the organizations contributed to the production of the event by supplying funds for refreshments, audio equipment, prizes and games.  The estimated cost of these provisions was about $1,000 in total.

The program featured four events.  The evening began with voter registration, which continued throughout the night. During this time students were informed about how to register and complete a voter’s ballot.

Voter registration was followed by a series of games that quizzed students about the government and American history. Students earned points for correctly answering questions and were given FMU apparel, provided by the Patriot Bookstore, as a prize.

Wright explained that SGA chose to create games for the program so that students would be entertained as well as informed.

“If [SGA] had tried to reach students only by lecture, they would’ve lost interest, so we planned the program in a creative manner,” Wright said.

The political awareness portion of the program began with a presentation by South Carolina Senator Kent Williams.  Williams spoke about his views on the importance of voting and explained why he felt that students should exercise their voting rights.

“If students want to make a difference in the issues that affect their community and daily lives, then they must start at the voting booth,” Williams said.

William’s presentation was followed by a political discussion lead by College Democrats and College Republicans.  The groups expressed their views on current political issues, such as health care and the economy, and discussed how each of their respective candidates planned to resolve them.

During the forum students were asked about the issues that most interested them and gave their opinions on the topic.

Adlina Slater, a junior majoring in education, talked about health care and what she believed was a cause of the issue.

“I’m interested in seeing the issue of health care discussed,” Slater said.  “There are many people who don’t have health insurance because it’s so expensive.”

Jazz Washington, a junior majoring in economics and psychology, spoke about the economy and how he believed it could be improved.

“We can do more if we owe less money, so I want to know where we stand with the national debt crisis and how it can be fixed,” Washington said.

Through the efforts of SGA and the participating organizations, 50 students became registered voters.  Asa Fludd, a senior majoring in education, explained how the program had affected his views on voting.

“The rally made me consider what issues are most important to my peers and that voting can help us be uplifted,” Fludd said.

 

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