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Berea Rocks the Vote

"Are you registered to vote?" The face of the enthusiastic young volunteer stared hopefully at students entering Kettering hall."If you are good job! If you aren't do it now!" Some students smiled nodded and registered on the spot, but others respectfully declined registration and walked away. Getting college students to get out and vote has been one of the more daunting tasks this election year. Only about 24 percent of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 actually got out and voted last election year. Internet networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have been bombarding their mostly college aged audience with campaign stickers and slogans such as "Choose or Lose". However, it seems that getting students to vote has been more difficult than expected and with this very close, very important election on the horizon the more voters the better.

Student leaders of the event help fellow classmates civically engage

Instead of just sitting back and watching our campus be a contribution to the 76 percent of none voters Berea's premiere pro-vote campaign, Berea Votes 2008, decided to tackle the issue head on. Tuesday night marked the beginning of Dorm Duel, the newest initiative to get students to register to vote. In the lobby of each dorm volunteers from the Board of Residence (BOR), Berea Votes, and Campus Life set up tables registering students to vote and offering change of address information. The student with the most registered people to vote wins a pizza party on election night.

Students enthusiastically lined up for their chance to have a hand in history. Jaimele Bettis a sophomore psychology and religion major and campus life employee did not see being able to vote as an obligation but as a rite of passage "For me itís just like getting your licenseÖI got my license and registered to vote at the same time." Bettis is just one of many students who have taken an interest in politics, clubs and organizations around campus encourage young people to participate in the political process.

This initiative was not only a good idea to get people registered but also it opened up a venue for students, both McCain and Obama supporters, to talk about politics and actually hear each other out. Students gathered in around the Kettering registration table and talked about the views of both sides of the political scales. Issues such as health care, economics, and education were brought to the table and each student expressed his or her opinion openly. The Berea Votes campaign did much more than register students, but is also gave a venue for a stereotypically apathetic population to speak its mind.

The night ended with many new registered voters and a since of accomplishment for the Berea Votes campaigners. So now that registering is out of the way, letís get out and vote.

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