Political leaders urge voter registration

Emily Gries

Smoking is a lot like voting, Secretary of State Trey Grayson said during a lecture Tuesday night.

Voting at a young age is comparable to smoking at a young age, Grayson said. If a person smokes at a young age they will probably smoke the rest of their life. Although voting isn’t necessarily addicting, people who vote at a young age tend to continue to vote, he said.

Grayson visited Western to encourage students to vote and actively participate in their community. About 40 people attended the discussion in Grise Hall Auditorium.

Grayson, Bowling Green mayor Sandy Jones, Political Science department head Saundra Ardrey and three students participated in the program titled “Student Civic Engagement.” The colloquium was the first of three programs Western will be hosting as part of The American Democracy Project. Western is one of many schools participating in the project, which encourages students to become more involved.

Grayson urged students to do three things. First is vote. Second, engage friends by making sure they are registered to vote. Third, get involved.

“There are all kinds of ways to get involved,” Grayson said.

One easy way is to volunteer to work polls during elections, he said.

Jones also issued a challenge to students to get involved. Civic involvement can lead to political participation, Jones said. She said even though students are in Bowling Green for a short time they should still be involved in the community.

In college there is a drop off in community involvement, Ardrey said. She stressed participation in clubs, social activities and internships that help build resumes. Ardrey said many students don’t take advantage of the opportunities the university makes available to them.

Sarah Davasher, president of College Republicans, said she hears a lot of excuses from students about why they don’t vote.

“It just takes the right issues to get students involved,” she said.

John Bradley, president of the Student Government Association, said there are many stumbling blocks for students. Many Western students who have jobs and receive financial aid are struggling just to survive, Bradley said. He said students need to feel passionately about the issues and then they will get involved.

Kyle Gott, Young Democrats president, said that Western offers a lot of programs that students need to take advantage of.

“Take one experience and see how it goes because you may learn to love it,” Gott said.

Reach Emily Gries at [email protected]