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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Young voters have obligation to wield their power responsibly

    Whether you like it or not, one day college will end and we will be released into the real world. That’s why it’s crucial to vote in this election.

    We won’t receive a monthly allowance anymore soon, and we will bear total responsibility for our health, safety and finances. It will also be our responsibility to elect public officials who will make our lives better ­— in fact, that responsibility starts now.

    The Arizona Students’ Association is a statewide organization that “works to make sure higher education in Arizona is affordable and accessible by advocating to elected officials and running issue campaigns to engage students.”

    Part of ASA’s efforts to engage students is promoting voter registration at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the UA.

    This is a noble effort because the people who represent you are supposed to have your interests in mind and at heart. And you know your interests best, so you should be the one to decide who represents you. ASA’s campaigns ensure you don’t forget that.

    Since the beginning of the semester, ASA has had a table on the UA Mall every week, Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., said ASA intern Kristin Zervas, a junior studying sociology and Spanish. Despite their regular presence, Zervas said, members of ASA get more registrations during their “class wrap” sessions.

    A class wrap is when an intern speaks to a class about what ASA is, what it has accomplished and why it’s important to vote.

    At the end of his or her speech, the speaker passes out voter registration papers. Usually 30 to 40 percent of the class registers.

    Speaking in classes “makes me feel like I’m educating students about what really matters,” Zervas said. “There are much more important things to care about than what you just saw on Facebook.”

    On Tuesday night, ASA hosted a kickoff meeting to discuss events taking place during election time. Additionally, next week is ASA’s “Blitz Week,” during which ASA will broadcast the presidential debates on big screens on University Boulevard.

    ASA’s contributions to UA students span further than voter registration. During class wraps, interns also explain and promote Proposition 204, a one-cent sales tax that would bring $300 million to public education.

    Last year, the association created a media campaign and gathered more than 7,000 statements of support from Arizona students for the federal Pell grant program.

    “It demonstrated to decision makers that students do care and are willing to stand up for their best interests,” Zervas said.

    ASA’s efforts demonstrate how much influence students can exercise when they become informed constituents.

    As college students and recent graduates enter adulthood, it’s important to recognize how much power we can wield in the state and national Legislature. Your voice matters.

    — Hollie Dowdle is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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