One Woman Academy

November 13, 2009

Students: Untapped Political Resource

Filed under: Uncategorized — onewomanacademy @ 2:04 pm

The other night, an event I helped organize came to fruition. We held a City Councilor at-Large Forum with four of city council candidates attending. Every single candidate told us that if we as a student body registered to vote, we could take over our city. However, we received very few attendants at the event despite much advertising and an excellent “Chalk About the Issues” event outside the Forum’s location. The recent presidential received enormous momentum from students. So why don’t students actively participate in local politics?


1. Apathy 

Many students just don’t care, as many student activity organizers can tell you.


2. They’re leaving anyways

Students don’t really see the point in getting involved in local politics if they aren’t going to stick around. Do many Duke University students get involved in the Durham City Council? Does the average University of Florida student WANT to stay in Gainesville? Of  course not. These places serve colleges and students, not recent graduate looking for jobs.


3. Hometown bias

Whether from their potential political competition or the student’s own love for their birthplace, a hometown bias comes into play. Does the average student in Boston understand the tax policies that residents complain about? Can they look at the No More Than 4 law and report solid reasons why it doesn’t benefit residents as well as disenfranchised students? Some students can, but they are few and far between. 


This letter to editor of Penn State’s The Collegian reflect this call to action.


This article from the Smith College Sophian reflects the hometown bias of a local politician’s slim defeat by the hands of a Dartmouth College student.
This Inside Higher Ed article reports the somewhat hostile attitude of Montgomery Country, VA towards Virginia Tech student voters.


Suffice to say, there are no easy answers.


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