Springfield College Aims To Register All Undergrads on Mass. Campus as Voters This WeekendAugust 28, 2008
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. Aug. 28, 2008 – Springfield College is on a mission this weekend to become the first institution of higher education in the United States to have all of the undergraduate students over age 18 on its Springfield, Mass. campus registered to vote in the 2008 elections.
“We educate our students to become leaders,” said David Braverman, Springfield College vice president for student affairs. “A critical step in becoming a leader in our society is to be an informed participant in the electoral process that shapes it. We’re giving our students the tools to do that.”
Voter registration will be a seamless part of the check-in process as undergraduate students arrive at their campus residence halls Friday, Aug. 29, from 8 a.m. to noon, and Sunday, Aug. 31, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The National Mail Voter Registration Form will be part of the paperwork, and students will have the option to complete it. The college will mail the completed forms to the voter registration office in each student’s home state.
Students who register to vote, or are already registered, will receive a tee shirt emblazoned with the college’s “Rock the Vote” campaign message, “Pride Vote: One Vision, One Voice, One Vote.” The Pride is the Springfield College nickname for its athletic teams and mascot.
“It’s a more active approach to voter registration than at most colleges,” Braverman said. “We’re optimistic about achieving total registration of the 2,150 undergraduates on our campus because almost all of them reside here. We’ll reach out separately to the few students who commute.”
The college’s Rock the Vote campaign graphics will also hang on the door in each student’s room, along with a two-month schedule of on-campus informational programs on key issues of the 2008 elections: the environment, war in the Middle East, economy, health care and education. “We’re planning balanced, non-partisan presentations with perspectives on the right and left sides of the issues,” Braverman said.
Kicking off the programs on election issues, all at 7 p.m. in Marsh Memorial Chapel, will be the Springfield College Environmental Club. It will present an interactive program on Sept. 30, and a documentary on the environment on Oct.2.
“Soldier Stories,” Robbie Leppzer’s documentary, originally broadcast over HDNet World Report, will air on the campus on Oct. 7. The video features five combat veterans discussing their war experiences, followed by profiles of their activism in Washington, DC either supporting or opposing the war.
Speaking on Oct. 9 will be Al Sanchez, president of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Trip Bellard, veteran of the 1st Infantry Division, who supports U.S. military action in Iraq.
On the economy, Greg Speeter, director of education and training at the National Priorities Project (NPP), will speak on Oct. 14. NPP is a research organization that analyzes federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. NPP analyzes the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district, and local levels. Mark Teed, vice president of Wachovia Securities and commentator on economic issues over WWLP-TV, will speak on Oct. 16.
Timothy Collins, president of the Springfield Education Association, will speak on the impact of this year’s elections on state and local education on Oct. 21. The college is organizing a program on health care for Oct. 23.
The Springfield College Rock the Vote campaign will culminate on election night with on-campus activities as the news media report the results.