If you’re like me, this lengthy campaign season and prolonged election cycle has seriously taken its toll. While political burnout might seem easier to succumb to than it has in the past, this year has also helped many of us realize political and civic engagement can be more rewarding than we previously imagined. With the 2020 election displaying record voter turnout, particularly among young voters, students may feel inspired to continue their political engagement.
Staying involved in civic processes is not a one-size-fits-all. There are a vast number of ways students can remain engaged outside of voting, from formal classroom education to extracurricular peer-led discussions. In recent years, including this one, the University of Delaware has been named a top school for the Student Voting Honor Roll, which not only demonstrates that our student body remains civically engaged, but also indicates that there are a number of on-campus offerings that foster a supportive environment for political awareness.
While the 2020 presidential election may be over, there are still plenty of other opportunities for students to get involved with politics outside of casting ballots. If you feel civic engagement has been a transformative experience for you and would like to spend time encouraging fellow students to join in the democratic process, then you should check out Make It Count. If you’re interested in finding ways to have safe and productive political discussions or to learn more about political issues, Let’s Talk is another RSO to try. Both of these RSOs are non-partisan, but more ideology-specific RSOs are available as well, including the College Democrats and College Republicans, among others. Continue reading
Another semester and a new academic year at the UD Honors College! While Fall 2020 means another round of homework, midterms, and finals, it also means one more thing: the general election. Back in spring I was able to watch debates and Super Tuesday results in Redding’s main lounge, and though I’m not able to do that on-campus this semester, there’s still many important things we can do. That spring I wrote an article about absentee voting, which was not-so-conveniently written immediately following COVID-19’s sending us off campus. Now that we’ve gone several months through these restrictions and that a major election is upcoming, more options are available to voters.
In my previous article, I focused heavily on voting by mail and voter registration. For college students, especially those out-of-state and living on or around campus, voting by mail is the likely option for many. Rules involving absentee mail-in ballots vary by state, so websites such as https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/ can help in pinpointing what is required in your individual state. I took part in Philly’s mayoral and city council elections last November, and I did so by voting by mail on campus! The directions were all laid out in my ballot, including how to seal it properly and how to make sure it gets mailed off. The former is especially important here in Pennsylvania, where rules require you to place your ballot inside of a provided blank envelope and then into a second envelope from there. Many states also allow you to track your mail-in ballot online, so you can make doubly sure that it gets mailed in time. https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/ is a great resource for finding when your ballot is due to be mailed by, and many states even allow you to drop off an absentee ballot at a county election office. Continue reading
It’s primary election season, and even in Redding, you could tell. A group of us watched February’s Ninth Democratic Debate in the lounge, and I watched the results of Super Tuesday come in alongside some others in the lounge. All of this election talk had me thinking about the resources available to us as college students when it comes to voting.
I registered to vote during the first month or so of my first semester; my state, Pennsylvania, has an easy way of registering to vote online. While methods of voter registration vary by state, you can find ways to register for a party or to vote in your state specifically on https://vote.gov/. In my case, I received an email a week or two after registering that let me know that it successfully went through. Continue reading
From Joe Biden to Tom Carper to Chris Christie, the University of Delaware is known as the nurturing ground for successful individuals. It is this drive toward success that brings us together to receive an education filled with diversity of thought, interest, culture, and opportunity. In a campus so densely packed with new things it is easy to forget what brought all these people together: you. Your academics, goals, drive, and interests brought you here to pursue your passions and your experience is UD’s most valuable resource. It is your passion that spreads and intertwines with others to create new, unique knowledge. While this blend of passions is UD’s defining characteristic, you must remember that it isn’t yours.
Our forefathers fought to create a country of individuals, not generic citizens. In realizing the unique qualities of every person, they created a country where every individual could embrace themselves and prosper. We cannot forget their sentiment, especially now. As college students we are awash in new ideas and openly embrace many of them, often becoming a product of our environment. We must not forget our defining factors in this flood of contemporary thought. It is our individual actions that brought us here, no one else’s. Now, when we are inundated with the liberating feeling that comes with a major life change, we must keep our heads above water. While each of us contributes to UD’s environment, we are all masters of ourselves and must act accordingly. It would be a shame if you spent four years “finding yourself” to be left more confused than when you started. We are all in a period of rapid change and we must guide that change or risk straying further and further from our goals.
In addition to managing our own lives, we must work around others that attempt the same. UD cherishes our sense of community, but this begs the question, where does an individual fall within a community? Our nation has grappled with this question from the day of its conception. Some claim the individual must be active within the community and others say the community exists on a different plane. Regardless of your answer, we all exist nestled between shining seas. We all share the privileges and burdens that come with a lifestyle tailored differently to every American. In the fine print of our citizenship, is outlined our most important and most overlooked privilege: our right to the ballot box.
We are nearly a month away from midterm elections that may plot our nation’s course for years to come – an election deep within one of the most politically polarizing periods in our history. If we ever want to rise out of the rift that divides us, we have to pull ourselves out. It’s fitting that the fate of a nation of individuals depends on the actions of every individual. It is our duty as Americans, UD students, and individuals to cast a vote on November 6th. University of Delaware’s noteworthy individuals understand their privileges and responsibilities, we must do the same.