Private, public and community colleges took a leap by doing things inside and outside the classroom to push students to the polls on November 8th.
Some schools held student-run debates while others are holding watch parties as American citizens choose between Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Nominee Donald Trump.
Less than 20 percent of students voted in the last presidential election, 17 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds cast a ballot in the 2014 election according to Campus Vote Project, a website run by a national, nonpartisan voting rights, legal support and election reform organization. Local colleges in San Diego are doing all that they can to encourage student voting in this year’s presidential election.
Co- Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at PLNU, Lindsey Lupo said the school tries to make their “students aware of the many election opportunities that are available” in the community.
Lupo continued that the department finds “this helps to shift the myopic focus that many Americans have when it comes to thinking about elections; democracy involves so much more than just electing a chief executive.” PLNU has a hand-full of students working on local, state and federal campaigns each election cycle from candidates running for public office to ballot initiatives.
In downtown, assistant professor of history and political science at San Diego City College (SDCC), Masahiro Omae, said she has “personally been updating students” in her American Politics class on “election survey results and projections using various resources including fivethirtyeight.com.”
San Diego State University (SDSU) has a group of students on campus who are part of an organization called “Rock the Vote” that has hosted events on campus since the beginning of the election to get students involved.
SDSU student and “Rock the Vote” contributor, Dylan Colliflower, said the purpose of the campaign is to get young adults to express their right to vote. “The importance of voting cannot be understated. That is why this campaign is important: to remind young people that they have a responsibility for the direction of this country.”
Local colleges have promoted voting by educating students in campus held discussion sessions. SDCC, PLNU and SDSU have conducted many “debate watching parties” to spike interest, get students talking and motivate them to vote.
This month the California Secretary of State’s Office announced that people between the ages of 17 and 35 signed up on the final day of online registration, making up 58 percent before the deadline on October 24th.
“Students have shown more interest compared to previous years,” Lindsey Lupo said. “Students think it’s such a weird and unusual election, and they’re correct.” College students are the next generation who will be affected by the voting turnout in this election. Politicians are “more likely to support initiatives that are popular among groups with the highest voter turnout” according to study.com, a profitable, self-funded company. Every vote counts towards a different future, and the millennial generation has the opportunity to take charge of this.