By Tiffany Castro /
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Office of Student Development (OSD) at Seminole State College of Florida flagged off activities aimed at encouraging students to actively participate in this year’s presidential election on Feb. 10 at the Sanford Lake Mary campus.
According to Dr. Jan Lloyd-Lesley, Associate Vice President of Student Development, “We decided we wanted to educate students about our political engagement and about the candidates [because] we see a lot of apathy. [Students] know it’s important, but they don’t necessarily vote. So we want to get them educated about some of those issues that they need to be educated about.”
When asked why she thinks it’s important for students to be active politically, she said: “I think it’s important for them to understand the various issues because our government is making decisions that impact students and impact higher education.” She continued by stating that it was imperative for students to become involved in local and national politics as stakeholders since they “need to be knowledgeable about what [politicians] are discussing and how it impacts them because then who they vote for is going to make a difference in what those outcomes will be.”
To motivate students to turn out in large numbers to vote in forthcoming presidential elections, the Office of Student Development at Seminole State College staged a Voter Registration Bash, among other activities.
Despite the grass root campaigns embarked on by the college to galvanize the student-body towards playing an active role in determining who occupies the White House after the November election, when asked if he would be voting this year during the US Presidential elections, Seminole State transfer student, Derek Reyes, said, “No” because “the voting lines don’t end with me getting on a roller coaster.” His statement is a veiled comment on the extended lines that are seen in Florida’s many voting precincts.
In 2012, the United States Census Bureau reported that “significant decreases occurred for . . . younger voters 18 through 29 years of age,” reporting, “a net voting decrease of about 1.8 million.” Since gathering consistent data starting in 1964, the Bureau also reported that “overall, younger Americans have consistently under-voted at the polls relative to their eligibility.”
However, Seminole State direct-connect student, Michelle Ilugbusi said, on her decision to vote this year, that, “as cliché as it may sound, people literally died for this right, so how could I not take advantage of a basic American right that wouldn’t have been afforded to me 50 plus years ago?”
The right to vote in political elections, for women, was ratified in the U.S. in 1920 while suffrage for African-Americans was in 1965. This past semester, after a civic engagement initiative led by the Office of Student Development on campus, 318 students registered to vote.
- Tiffany Castro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org