With poor turnout at an event on political engagement last week, onlookers might have written off the degree of Emerson students’ commitment to this election cycle. In fact, this editorial board lamented the seeming lack of interest students displayed in political matters most pressing to this day and age.
Last night, though, as many as 150 people gathered at different locations on campus to watch President Barack Obama debate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Denver, Colorado. Perhaps it was the free pizza at the journalism department’s Piano Row Lobby viewing party, or the ambiance of the CPLA debate watch in the dining hall that caused students to show up. However, the large sample of tuners-in may indicate that Emerson students deserve more credit.
Following the formation of Emerson Republicans, a wider array of voices now exists on campus than ever before. What’s more, this development came in a watershed election year that has shaped up to be a presidential decision between two very different ideologies. While it’s yet to be seen who pundits say won the debate, it looks as if efforts to bring engagement to the forefront are slowly but surely paying off.
This has happened due to the dedication of students and administrators alike. Emerson Republicans and Emerson Democrats have hosted their own voter registration drives and campaigned for state senators. In an email, Dean of Students Ronald Ludman reminded the student body how to register to vote in Massachusetts.
But debate watching parties and registration drives are not substitutes for meaningful participation with political issues. Attending these events is a useful first step to immersing oneself in the conversation surrounding the election, yet we must dive deeper than hashtags and soundbites. Nov. 6 is weeks away — more than enough time to read about the issues and make an informed decision about who to vote for — and there are still 13 days to turn in this commonwealth’s voter registration form.
This is the first election that many students can vote in. Don’t miss this chance to influence the country’s direction — election night pizza parties will be much more meaningful if you have contributed your vote.