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Student Groups Collaborate to Promote Voter Registration
Bethlehem, Pa., September 28, 2012—Voter registration efforts at Moravian College are in full swing thanks to the College’s AAUW (American Association of University Women) Student Affiliate Group, College Democrats, Spectrum, and USG (United Student Government).
Voter registration events have already been successful. In one, the AAUW Student Affiliate Group registered 40 voters in two hours on September 18, prior to their showing of the film Iron Jawed Angels, which depicts the struggle of women activists to win women’s suffrage in the United States.
Other AAUW Student Affiliate Group events included National Rally Day, which featured presentations by faculty members Stacey Zaremba, Sharon Brown, Dana Dunn and John Rossi and students Thomas Lazaro ’14 representing the AAUW Student Affiliate Group, Alexandria Loveall ’15 representing Spectrum, and Michael O’Gorman ’14 representing the College Democrats. These presentations were followed by student discussions that addressed the issues the organizers felt were most relevant to students.
The College Democrats have been active in registration efforts, including going door-to-door with registration forms. The group also has sponsored meetings with candidates and other campaign workers at the local Democratic party headquarters on Third Street, held a watching party for the Democratic National Convention, and continue to canvass Bethlehem communities with information about the election for undecided Bethlehem voters.
USG has promoted voter registration events in its newsletter and through Facebook and Twitter. Spectrum and USG have joined to apply for a (Pennsylvania Campus Compact) PACC grant to fund their registration efforts.
Members of these groups all stressed the importance of collaborating. Melissa Walters ’14, the president of the AAUW Student Affiliate Group, says, “It is important for clubs on a college campus to have unity. I think it makes the student body stronger.” Stacey Zaremba, professor of psychology and department chair as well as faculty advisor for the AAUW Student Affiliate Group, reinforced this idea when she said, “The more you can work together, the more power you have, the more energy you have, the more shared resources.” Members of each group feel that their efforts would be far less successful if not for the unity between the groups.
Such dedication is important this year because of the major role this presidential election will play on issues affecting college-aged Americans including debates over student loans, healthcare, and contraception. Katelyn Cohen ’14, the vice president of the AAUW Student Affiliate Group, understands the urgency of this election and says, “If we don’t have our voices heard now, it very well may be too late in the future.”
Members of the groups have been pleasantly surprised about the willingness and excitement many Moravian students have shown about the registration process. However, there are some students who prefer to remain unregistered.
Arielle Brent ’13, who is deeply involved in the AAUW Student Affiliates, the College Democrats and Spectrum says, “Kids here [in the United States] have no idea how good they have it. They get to vote for what laws and leaders they want … it’s not about being an activist, it’s about being a responsible citizen.” Zaremba stresses the importance of developing good habits at a young age, stating that, like all behavior, voting is habit forming. Voters are more likely to vote for the rest of their lives if they start at a young age.
In order to ensure that the current generation of Moravian students is one that will be involved with voting, the groups’ efforts continue. Up until Pennsylvania’s October 9 deadline for voter registration, the AAUW Student Affiliates and College Democrats will continue to have voter registration tables set up most weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the HUB. After the registration deadline, the groups will continue their efforts by working to inform students about the election, encouraging registered voters to vote, and walking students from the HUB to the polling place at College Hill Moravian Church on Election Day, November 6.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s Web site at www.moravian.edu.