Student advocate helps students vote, form individual beliefs

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Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 12:00am

With the presidential elections less than a month away, citizens everywhere are feeling the pressure to form opinions and take them to the voting booth. Recognizing the need to emphasize the need to be involved in our country's politics, Andrew Barrus has created an activity to help students identify their values and form a lifelong appreciation for the democratic process.

According to Barrus, "It's kind of been established in the past that the student advocate ran a voter registration drive on campus ... But this year we want to take it a step farther and as well as running a voter registration drive we're also going to be running a voter awareness drive."

Further, "Instead of just getting people registered to vote, we want to get people educated on how to vote, what it means to be civically engaged, how to actually learn about the issues, how to form their own opinions instead of just going off the opinions of someone else. We really want to make a push to make CEU students more informed voters than just voters."

Barrus is very passionate about the political process and explains his reasons for taking on this project, "I want to see people be aware when they're voting for and know what they're voting about and gain the skills to go on in their life and be able to acquire knowledge and things like that, especially about politics because the way the democratic system is set up we all have our say in politics, that's the reason it was set up like it is. But if you aren't aware then you don't really have any say because you don't know what you're voting for.

"There are a lot of things going on where I think the major of the US population just doesn't really understand what they're voting for so you can't really say that we're living in a democratic society when the majority of this population doesn't know what they're doing or what power they do have."

The election drive, Oct. 20 through 23, will include a debate and mock election. "Instead of focusing on the candidates opinions we want to focus on student's opinions and how to get them involved and how they can form their own opinions on things and how to choose a political candidate not based on which party you are or which party your parents are, but what your beliefs are and why you choose to vote along that party and where you fall on the political spectrum."

Truth is sometimes an elusive thing, but Barrus suggests watching the news from several different networks to receive and unbiased view, "The only way that you can get a comprehensive understanding of the current political spectrum and really get all of the viewpoints is to go to mulitiple sources.

"Also, I know that there's a group, the young democrats on campus, who I'm sure would be more than happy to have people go and ask questions and get involved through them."

In the future, Barrus wants to include local politicians and discussions in these discussions and hopes that the student population will influence these candidates to come and speak with the students.

The time and location are subject to change, but Barrus hopes to hold the election drive in the JLSC building during lunch to attract a larger percentage of students.

If you want to get involved with this project, visit the student government office, located in the JLSC building, to get in contact with Barrus.

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