HWS Votes is back in action, mobilizing the community and helping students become informed voters
Jacqui Sands ’09, a political science major from Rochester, N.Y., says the Colleges’ non-partisan voter registration organization HWS Votes started nearly three years ago in preparation for this Presidential year. The organization is spearheaded by Ave Bauder director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.
“As a sophomore, I responded to the call for volunteers to work on this important issue,” says Sands. “Then Ave Bauder asked me to become the Bonner Leader for Civic Engagement and Political Activism.” Preparing to leave HWS after graduation this spring, Sands is helping Amanda Ward ‘11 transition into the position she will vacate.
Some HWS Votes initiatives include distributing information pamphlets on Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s perspectives on key issues such as civic engagement, gender equity and global perspective. For Sands, this is why students should vote, “Students talk about health care, the war and the U.S. having a better standing in the world; they should vote for someone they believe can do that.”
HWS Votes is also sending ballot reminders late October through November, and having an absentee ballot application drive in early October. Sands points out, “It’s important to do work like this in a non-partisan way. People should know how to vote, however they choose to do it. If groups mobilize and vote, they can be taken seriously by politicians as voting blocks.”
There are also events in the works that will reach beyond the HWS campus. On Sunday, Sept. 28, Geneva Public Library will join forces with HWS Votes to present a student political engagement panel and a voter registration table for the larger Geneva Community. Ward will facilitate the discussion with speakers Iva Deutchman, professor of Political Science, Theadore Tanzer from the College Republicans, Caleb Campbell ’11, and Geneva City Councilwoman Jacqueline Augistine ’91, among others.
Additionally, the group will host two presidential debate screenings on campus followed by mediated discussions. For the ‘Millennials and Politics’ week, Oct. 20 through 23, HWS Votes will support a series of presentations and workshops. Abby Kiesa from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement will present the “Millennials talk Politics’ study, and Wayne Meisel, the president of the Bonner Foundation prepares for a Bonner student- led leadership workshop “Bridging the Gap Between Service, Activism and Politics. Bauder points out, there are still more opportunities for collaboration with other groups; HWS Votes will work with Americans for an Informed Democracy to organize several more discussions.
Finally, don’t forget the all-campus election night party in the Vandervort Room with featured Geneva political guests. Sands reminds, “Vote, please!”