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NU hosts election events, helps students register to vote

by Drew Pendergast

    In November of 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States and at that time only a small portion of Niagara University’s current student body was of voting age. Senior Sean Farber is one student who voted in the 2008 presidential election. “After I voted, I did feel like I fulfilled a duty as a young adult, but since I voted for Obama and he won, I did feel like a part of history by helping to elect the first African-American President,” Farber said.
    This November, Sean and the majority of students enrolled at NU will have the opportunity to vote in the presidential election and be a part of history again, especially at a time where America stands at an impasse as a nation when it comes to which direction it heads in next. With not just this but every election being a major event in American history, it is no surprise that all across different forms of media, i.e. television, radio, Internet advertising, magazines, there is a push for young people to register to vote and take part in the democratic process by which we elect our head of state.
You may be thinking to yourself at this point: “This is nice and all, but I don’t live in the Niagara Falls region, so how am I supposed to vote?” Well, Niagara University just happens to have an answer for your question!
    NU has a committee on the national presidential election and you may have seen posters from the committee and events it is sponsoring around campus with its theme of “Listen. Learn. Vote!”
For the first event, held on Tuesday Sept. 25, the NU committee on the national presidential election sponsored a panel put on by Dr. Alexander Bertland of the philosophy department, Dr. Shawn Daly of the business administration department, Dr. Robert Kane from the history department, and Dr. Todd Schoepflin of the sociology department. They discussed the issue of the wealth distribution debate in America. Each professor drew from their respective discipline to give students in attendance unique views on a critical issue in the 2012 presidential election.
The committee is slated to have numerous events like this to help students get informed about the candidates and issues and make an informed decision in November. Aside from these events the committee is also working with NUSGA programming director Kalene Faricellie to ensure students are informed on how they can still vote away from home, as well as get any interested students registered for the upcoming election.
    Just a couple weeks ago, NUSGA members could be found in the Gallagher Center handing out voter registration forms to students they have since taken those returned forms and mailed them out to their respective counties. Along with handing out voter registration forms, NUSGA also has an absentee ballot information session Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gally Multi-Purpose Room. Students can learn about absentee ballots and fill out the appropriate forms so they will be able to obtain the physical ballot by which they can vote. NUSGA isn’t stopping there though! There are plans in the works for a “Rock the Vote”-type event for Oct. 24 with more information being available as the date draws closer.
    Aside from these NUSGA events, there are more of the Niagara University national presidential election committee sponsored events, all of which will take place during the month of October.
    At the forefront of the presidential election is the scheduled debates between Mitt Romney and President Obama that begin Wednesday evening screened in Clet Hall. The other residence halls will also screen the debates. O’Shea Hall will feature the Oct. 11 debate, Seton Hall will have the Oct. 16 debate screened for your consumption, with the final debate on Oct. 22 shown in the Gally MPR.
After Wednesday’s screening of the presidential debate, Assefa Beyene, a Fulbright Scholar, will present a talk on the history of the electoral processes in Ethiopia on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. in the Gallagher MPR.
    Then, on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in Dunleavy 127, the committee will sponsor a talk from Dr. Charles C. Camosy, professor of theology at Fordham University, on “Voting with Your Conscience.” The following Wednesday, at a time and place to be announced, Akua Naru, a lecturer from the University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany & Pivot Point College (Sichuan University.) Chengdu, China, will hold an event titled “The World is Watching – American Election In an International Context” to give an international perspective on what the presidential election means to the rest of the world and how it is viewed.
The next two events, “The Environment and Public Policy” as presented by Dr. William Edwards of the environmental studies program, and “Middle Eastern Relations in the Context of the Election,” a talk given by Dr. Mustafa Gokcek of the Middle Eastern and Islamic studies program, are both highly pertinent. These will be held on Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. in the Gallagher MPR and on Oct. 30 at a place and time to be announced. Lastly, the committee will sponsor a final event on Oct. 31 from 2:30 until 4 p.m. in the Gally MPR where students in CMS 361 politics in media will display posters and screen videos pertaining to fact-checking and the fast-approaching presidential election.
    With all these events going on around campus there is little room to excuse oneself from being uninformed about the issues and the entirety of the upcoming presidential election other than a stance of apathy or disillusionment that one less voter won’t make a difference.

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