Even though my international status prevented me from voting in the 2012 election, I was excited to use what I had learned in my required American Government and U.S. History classes to converse or debate with my peers and parents and even have one-way arguments with the commentators on television.
Election night 2012 at GSU was filled with a similar excitement. Campus Events, along with Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta sorority, co-sponsored a viewing party in the Student Center. While many of the students were drawn to the event by the free Domino’s Pizza, once the pies were gone an impressively large number of enthusiastic students stayed to watch the race unfold. Republican, Democratic and non-partisan students gathered together to share the election experience, some as first-time voters.
@GSU_News was there to cover the event. My co-host, Joseph Shepherd, and I asked nine students about their experiences voting, the issues that are important to them, and who or what influences their political decisions.
I think young college students should get more credit for their insights, because the responses we received were thoughtful, well articulated and informed. First-time voters said they were excited to finally have the opportunity to vote and take an active role in addressing the issues that matter to them the most, such as healthcare, tuition rates and job growth. Students also said that, while their parents and friends influence their decisions somewhat, ultimately, they like to do the research and formulate their own opinions (insert sigh of relief).
For a sample of some of these interviews, please check out the election episode of @GSU_News: http://youtu.be/GzhOfD_BEA4
Taking a political interest is not a new concept for GSU students. Four years ago, students gathered together to watch the historic 2008 election and, upon receiving the results, many actively expressed their joy by marching in a late night parade from Piedmont North to the State Capitol building.
With political participation already at the forefront for these young adults, GSU students are well on their way to becoming the leaders of tomorrow.