Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Alaina McConnell Contributor
Student and staff voting initiatives took the Kalamazoo College campus by storm last week in non-partisan efforts to increase awareness and ensure that all members of the K community can vote.
The week included events like Storm the Dorms and “Why Voting Matters,” a First Year Forum.
Alison Giest, director of The Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning, said that her department’s effort, “K Votes!”, aims to register eligible voters and promote a commitment to participate on Nov. 6.
In the last week, departmental volunteers have facilitated voter registration from tables located just outside of Old Welles Dining Hall.
“We’re also in charge of the big banner everyone signs and the ‘I’m Voting!’ pins, all meant to encourage everyone who is registered to commit to showing up on Election Day or mailing their ballot,” Giest said.
Hannah Bogard ’15 and the other members of the Queer and Allied Living Learning House have partnered with the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center (KGLRC) to storm the residence halls to promote progressive voting as part of KGLRC’s larger “I Commit” campaign.
“We basically just walk door to door and ask people if they will commit to staying informed and to voting progressively,” Bogard said.
Bogard thinks that educating young people is an important step in implementing change.
“The student body is one that tends to be underrepresented at the polls and that shouldn’t be the case,” she said. “College students can make a pretty big difference if we stay informed and committed to voting.”
Like Bogard, the Kalamazoo College Democrats and Republicans are also encouraging students to educate themselves and to get registered in the upcoming weeks before the election.
“At the end of the day, I would rather that everyone be registered no matter who they are going to vote for,” said Alex Werder ’15, president of the Kalamazoo College Democrats.
Werder, along with the co-president of the Kalamazoo College Republicans, David Personke ’15, spoke on Sept. 25 at the First Year Forum “Why Voting Matters.”
Both Personke and Werder said that the response on campus to student and staff voting initiatives has been generally well-received.
“A lot of students are already registered which is great to hear,” said Werder.
Eligible voters who are not yet registered have until Oct. 9. A free shuttle service sponsored by the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning will be available to take members of the college community to the polls on Election Day.