Election 2016: Students Get Out the Student Vote
As college students, we get wrapped up in classwork and college life and easily give little thought to voting or believing that our one vote matters. This election season, I and several students came together to remind the Moravian College Community that every vote counts and that we have a responsibility, a privilege, and an opportunity to have a say in who leads our government. As young people, who will be faced with solving the problems of the future, it is especially important to let our voices be heard.
Our nonpartisan election group consisted of members from United Student Government (USG), Black Student Union (BSU), Spectrum, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Political Awareness Coalition (PAC), the Middle Eastern Club, and Moravian College faculty. Together we registered about 150 students at our voter registration tables in the HUB and at certain campus events. Not only did we register first-time voters, we also helped students change their current registration address so they could, more conveniently, vote here at the college, or we supplied absentee ballot registrations.
Throughout the semester, we held debate watch parties, set up election information tables, sent emails, and circulated flyers explaining the importance of one’s vote. As a group, our goals were to inform students about how to register to vote, where to vote, and what to take to the polls. We acted out of nonpartisanship, never trying to sway students to vote one way or the other.
"We must remember that our college supports inclusion, but inclusion does not mean we must agree on everything. We need to recognize that diversity in ideas can lead to intelligent and respectful conversations."
On Election Day, to encourage students, faculty, and staff to vote, we set up a table at the 1742 splotch outside the HUB, and, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running every half hour up until 6:00 p.m., volunteers walked student voters to College Hill Moravian Church, near the seminary, to vote. We wanted to ensure that no detail, such as not knowing where to go, interfered with a person’s opportunity to make his or her voice heard.
Later, starting at 7 pm in the Pavilion in the HUB, we held a Watch Party where the community gathered to follow the election coverage displayed on a big screen, and we served food and drinks throughout the night. The room was filled with anxious excitement.
For many students, this was the first presidential election in which they could vote. For others, it was the first time they really took a stance on the policies raised by the candidates during their campaigns throughout the year. And while we have differences of opinion, it is important to remember that those differences do not divide us. We are all part of the Moravian College Community, which values “revolutionary ideas.” Our college is founded on one—the idea that all people need to be educated no matter gender, wealth, or status. As those who came before us understood, we must remember that our college supports inclusion, but inclusion does not mean we must agree on everything. We need to recognize that diversity in ideas can lead to intelligent and respectful conversations. When these conversations are had, we learn so much about each other and the world around us. —Marisa Vinciguerra