Impact Day brings politics to students
With the campaign season and presidential election upon us, the need to be informed and educated is increasing. ASUU hosted Impact Day to bring together more than 20 candidates, campaigns and political groups to hand out information and engage with students about the political sphere around them.
Students visited tables at the Union Patio and spent time learning about the upcoming elections and what being a member of certain political parties entails.
“Impact Day brings the candidates to students,” said Michael Merrill, a member of the ASUU Government Board and a grad student in public policy. “A lot of the time, politics can seem a little removed to students, so we create this festival atmosphere and demystify politics … It gives students the opportunity to speak to candidates and have a voice.”
Local politics have a large effect on the local community, especially for college students, Merrill said.
“There’s plenty of stuff like tuition and funding, transportation, TRAX [and] buses,” he said. “They’re the nuts and bolts students don’t usually think about.”
Rachel Wootton, a junior in political science who helped coordinate the event, said it’s a great opportunity for students to meet candidates and see a wide range of campaigns from various political parties. Students can voice their opinions about the issues they care about to help the candidates learn of the needs and wants of their constituents.
“A lot of the time there’s a kind of apathy with the youth vote,” said Gary Ashcroft, the volunteer coordinator for Democratic Senate candidate Scott Howell. “It’s important to reach out and encourage them to vote. If you get involved now, you’ll be involved later as well.”
In addition to representatives and staff members of the campaigns for political officials, there were displays of information about political parties and the ways college students can get involved with them.
College-aged voters have the most to gain and lose when it comes to electing officials to carry out policies, said Craig Barrett, the chairman for the College Republicans.
“We’re the generation that lives with the results from the current election. We’re the ones who will be taking over and elected into office in 10 or 15 years,” Barrett said. “We have a direct impact on what goes on … We have a voice and we want it heard.”
As an incentive, ASUU handed out T-shirts to all students who registered to vote or pledged to vote if they were already registered. A photo area was also set up for students to take pictures with cardboard cut-outs of President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.