The youth vote famously played a large role in Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, but one of the big questions of this year’s election is how young voter turnout will compare with that of the previous election. This year, SUNY Oswego is playing its part in helping students register to vote.
SUNY Oswego’s Civic Engagement Coalition wants to educate youth on key issues in this year’s elections so they are launching a series of events in conjunction with the national organization Rock the Vote. Jon Zella of the coalition says many of the events planned throughout the semester will focus on the issues that may directly effect students including the economy, education, and abortion.
But, as Zella explains, it is often difficult to get this demographic to become involved in the discussion of campaign issues. He says students are often unaware of the issues and, through these events, he hopes to present them in a way that is attractive to the demographic.
“This is something where students can be social and be with other people and discuss the issues and hopefully at the same time, be fun,” he said.
Zella says his interest in student civic engagement started in 2008 when he was a freshman at SUNY Oswego and he felt there was a serious lack of involvement by the school in the election.
“I was here for the other election and nothing was happening, it was almost nonexistent and I was upset by that. So I wanted to make sure that changed,” he said.
He says their goal this year is to get at least a thousand people registered to vote. Information on registering, absentee ballots, and campaign finance will be available at numerous Rock the Vote events open to the public throughout the year.