Encouraging the Student Voice During Election Time

Dec. 3, 2008

By Sara Martisek, Communications Director

WACO, Texas--This semester, the Student Government Legislative Relations committee worked hard to promote and encourage student participation in the November election.

Rock The Vote, a week-long event at the beginning of the semester, challenged students to exercise their voice by participating in this year's elections. The event gave students the chance to register to vote and to talk about their opinions on key themes of this year's presidential campaigns.

Immediately following Rock The Vote, Student Government conducted a two-week voter registration drive. The drive ran until Friday, October 3, 2008 and at the end, over 100 new voters were registered.

"Being able to register on campus was really convenient, especially for those who are from out-of-town and can't get home to register," said Baylor junior, Catherine Dykes. "This service on campus was both convenient and encouraged students to vote."

Hay Day VoterOn Thursday, October 23, 2008, Student Government held Hay Day, a presidential straw poll where students could vote for their favorite presidential candidate with a piece of straw, pick up some information on the candidates, and grab a hot dog or hamburger on their way to class. The results showed McCain/Palin with the majority, Obama/Biden in a close second, and Barr/Root at a distant third.

"It's no secret that young people--people our age--typically don't vote. As citizens, we have a responsibility to engage our communities and make a difference, and voting is the first step towards accomplishing that," said Baylor senior and Student Government's director of legislative relations, Sam Chen. "I feel that both Rock the Vote and Hay Day were very successful, and I believe that we both excited and informed students for this year's election."

Student Government, along with the Baylor Activities Council, held an Election Night Watch Party, where students gathered to eat pizza as news stations covered the election. Not only was the presidential election followed, but also many key Senate, House, and gubernatorial races were watched. The pizza was donated, courtesy of The New York Times and music entertainment was provided by artists from the Baylor Rising Artist Network (BRAN).

Student Body External Vice President Nicole Yeakley expressed excitement for future voter awareness campaigns from Student Government.

"I am really proud of the efforts we've made and the Legislative Relations committee this semester, as they supported both the students' right to vote and expanded student knowledge of the key issues in this year's presidential election," said Yeakley.

Yeakley indicated that Student Government will continue to encourage student involvement in upcoming local, state, and national elections.