Wake up and vote

Kelly Tyko

When it comes to voting, college students are apathetic. However, FAU’s Student Government is looking forward to changing that attitude.

Along with Florida’s 10 other state universities, SG is hosting the third annual voter registration drive, “Wake-Up Wednesday,” on all FAU campuses. The goal of “Wake-Up Wednesday” is to encourage, motivate, and register thousands of student voters.

The day is designed to show students how “to become participants and change the apathetic attitudes of students,” says SG’s Director of Lobbying, Tori Holder.

Holder thinks that students don’t care because “they don’t feel that they can change anything. But they don’t realize that with voting, they can change something.”

Nick Kalman, senate speaker for the Boca Raton campus, says, “Not everyone is interested in politics, especially our demographic, but we all need to realize that the decisions made by elected officials affect all of us on a daily basis.

“As we can all see from the presidential election of 2000, there’s no reason to make an excuse – every vote counts.”

After the last presidential election, Holder believes that more students will vote – especially since much of FAU is located in Palm Beach County, the home of the infamous butterfly ballot and the focus of the 2000 election recount.

“College students are traditionally apathetic to the election process. But if people like me, Nick, Pablo, Tori, and all of SG, get people involved, creating a level of awareness, then I think and hope that we will increase voter turnout,” says Alex Schraff, SG Attorney General.

Student Body President Pablo Paez believes that if the SG can change students’ indifference, students will become a political force.

“We as students need to realize that unless we become a major voting force, we will never become a major lobbying force. They go hand in hand.

“Only when students become a voting block that politicians look at as having some weight, will our issues have more weight. That’s something all students need to realize,” Paez says.

But right now, the majority of students don’t appreciate their political potential.

“They don’t realize that their vote can affect their tuition,” Holder says. “Bright Futures, other scholarships, grants, everything that’s decided on is affected by voting.

“They bitch and complain that tuition’s going up, but they could have voted for someone else. Or they could have known what that person stood for. We can change how the decisions are made,” Holder says.

In addition to getting students registered to vote, “Wake-Up Wednesday” is about education.

“By educating the students on the importance of voting, we will truly see that student voter outcome increases,” Paez says.

“Registering to vote only takes a minute,” Holder says. “Get a form, fill it out, and we’ll mail it in for you.”

As of press time, dates for Wakeup Wednesday have yet to be decided. All the UP knows is that they’ll be on Wednesdays in September.

In Broward, for more information, call 954/236-1250.In MacArthur, for more information, call 561/799-8591.And in Treasure Coast, for more information, call 772/873-3363.