Students are already talking about the 2016 presidential election. The Political Engagement Project is an initiative at Ferris that hopes to create a discussion among students about politics. Recently they asked students who they would be voting for.
“Our goal at Ferris is to inform students about the political issues of the day,” said Richard Hewer, Ferris professor and Political Engagement Project co-coordinator. “We like to present both sides of issues and we do that by helping professors and students incorporate those things in their classes.”
In an effort to get students informed and involved in the upcoming elections, the Political Engagement Project administered a presidential straw poll with the help of the College Republicans Registered Student Organization (RSO) during the Founders’ Day celebration and ended at Bulldog Bonanza.
Out of the 178 students surveyed, Bernie Sanders led with 38.6 percent of the vote, followed by Donald Trump with 15.9 percent.
But while administering the poll, College Republicans member and public relations junior Erin Moore found that not many students knew who was running, what the candidates stood for or why they should vote.
“Many students that stopped by the table said they had no idea who they should vote for,” said Moore. “We gave them packets about the candidates.”
Richard Griffin, a political science professor and Political Engagement Project co-coordinator, integrates discussion of the presidential race into his classes and encourages students to vote. “It is every American citizen’s civic responsibility to vote,” Griffin said.
“Our democracy only works when the majority of us discusses issues and votes,” Hewer said. “If you don’t learn what candidates really believe, discuss the issues and vote for the candidates you agree with, you let other people control the country and you, which will destroy democracy.”
Moore said students need to understand the impact of voting.
“Big decisions are made by Congress in Washington D.C. or in our state legislature, but if students don’t vote then they really aren’t having a say on these issues,” she said. “If you don’t vote then you can’t complain about what is happening.”
To learn more about Ferris’ Political Engagement Project, visit ferris.edu/pep.