Turning corners on College Avenue or Livingston campus, student bodies are seen crowding around ‘RU Voting?’ tables, tucked underneath orange trees near bus stops – or in front of busy student halls and department buildings. The encouragement to vote is strong this season; for many young students, this is the first election in which they are legally allowed, by age, to participate in the potential outcome of this political event.
Rutgers provides accessible opportunities for students to actively choose and use their right to vote in our evolving political climate; it is important that each and every individual understand his or her role in our opportunistic democracy. I was pleasantly struck by the community of students that gathered around tables to fill out quick forms to be able to place a ballot on Election Day. The advising students, running the tables, were cheerful; easy to communicate with; and there was a fluid organization in their handling of each student that filled out a form at hand.
I curiously decided to look up the organization, club, or association behind the phrase ‘RU Voting?’ – I thought to myself, “Who are these dedicated students who so influentially ask fellow students to take the time and opportunity to vote (when sometimes, no one else may have offered the same excited encouragement)?’ I discovered online that it is Rutgers’ well-regarded Eagleton Institute’s Youth Political Participation Program that ignites the passionate flame in Rutgers’ student bodies to vote when and where they can (such as in New Brunswick or on campus). Such a group creates important awareness of the effects of politics and governmental leadership in our country. To vote is to understand the importance of rights and the effects of change caused by a new presidency. Therefore, to encourage voting inspires the importance of rights – and taking charge in these individual liberties granted to our citizens by the Constitution.
It is only every one to two terms (four to eight years) that American citizens can select a new presidential candidate. It seems only once-in-a-lifetime that American citizens can experience presidential debates and an upcoming election, such as the one taking place before us now. This year’s presidential debates, as well as presidential candidates, are by far some of the most interesting and intriguing that American citizens have witnessed and discussed together – with controversy, agreement, disagreement, and amazement.
Next time there is an ‘RU Voting?’ table in a near location, take a brief moment to stop and acknowledge the crucial appreciation of voting and the activation of rights that this university opportunistically offers its students. By Rutgers actively pursuing the motivation of voting rights, it is honorably acknowledging what this country freely and righteously allows its citizens to do: have an opinion, liberate that opinion, and be able to do so in privacy and independence. A citizen (such as an RU student) shall be able to choose his or her candidate of choice with considerable thought and pre-researched action. And in this tense and new season of politics, Rutgers’ students shall think wisely and critically over such events, as this university has smartly educated them to do.