A Fiery-Crotch America

Sex sells. It’s that simple. J-Lo half-naked posing for her new perfume Britney in a bathing suit on the cover of Rolling Stone – the raucous aspect of sex is the driving force behind pop culture. It’s everywhere, our lives are encompassed by it.
There are a million factors and issues surrounding, contributing to and resulting from it, making it hard to decipher one situation without relating it to another. Modern civilization is utterly obsessed with partaking in wild sex.
The toll upon our country is ridiculous. Feelings of inadequacy, pressure to be sexually active and the shame of not having every inch of your body matching an absurd standard of ‘perfection’ are the prices we pay. They’re all rolled into the same category stemming from three stimulating letters: S-E-X.
The effects of on my peers (and myself) of pop culture and the actions of the glitzy, beautiful people who roll around Beverly Hills is insane.
Young, fiery crotches of America follow these fashion crazes and thus are subliminally agreeing (and advertising) that sex is stylish. We’re blasted with images and brainwashed by the media, which constantly updates us on who and what is cool, and where, when and how we can be cool, too. This club, that radio station, those stores, these clothes, etc.
We are more influenced by our peers and rich people, and we don’t even know where our moral conscience is, because it was eroded away a long time ago for so many of us.
As the scandalous, media-frenzied story goes, Brad cheated on Jen with Angelina Jolie. And they were the most glamorously perfect couple ever. Here’s the real-life scenario: He didn’t mean to bang that hoochie. She was just there and he was really drunk. Oh, and she came on to him. So, fair game, right? But just in case it wasn’t, he lied to the woman ‘he loved most’ about the incident. We’re partying like rockstars, so why not rail like porn stars?
Doesn’t lying about an action, not living up to a limited standard of integrity, make you less of a man? I mean, relationships are built on trust and love. Remember when sex was referred to as ‘making love’? Meaning you would hump someone who held your heart? These factors seem to be part of a long-dead era.
But, ladies, don’t think you’re off the hook either. Just because the media has washed away many of the stipulations that used to go along with promiscuous sex, that doesn’t make it right.
It seems, just because we’re in college, a non-maxed-out Visa is the only V-Card to be proud of having. Don’t get me wrong, sex can be a wonderful thing between two lovers. It’s a release – a way to connect with your honey on a different level — it’s enjoyable and fun. These are all true benefits of sex. When it’s just two (or more) people fulfilling their erotic fantasies for the hell of it, I feel the strong connection that is supposed to be present to make this roll in the hay something amazing and special is destroyed. There is a reason for doing the deed other than for personal enjoyment. Strong emotional attachments, and love, should be tied to it.

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Mormons on campus

Walking to class, your mind is immersed in daydreams when suddenly a person decked out in a suit and a smile approaches you wanting to talk about… religion.
These people are often missionary Mormons from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their goal is to spread their religion’s message and inform others of the peace, love and fulfillment they have found through involvement in their church. The Mormon religion values family, marriage, honesty and morality and believes the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God.
Michael Lowe, chemical physics junior, feels his religion has blessed him greatly, leading him to do things that have given him greater joy than anything else. “There’s a difference between eating a candy bar and a full-course meal,” Lowe said. “The meal leaves you more fully satisfied with a feeling of peace.”
Lowe is a spiritual person who is strong in his convictions like many other students on college campuses across the nations. So why the suits and sidewalk evangelism? It’s not as if every religion has people doing that. What makes Mormons so inclined to public proselytizing?
Lowe said their goal is not necessarily to convert people to Mormonism, but rather to teach them and inform them of their spiritual options in the hope that someone may benefit from the church. From his experiences in promoting his beliefs, Lowe has adapted and become accustomed to typical reactions. His forte is a smile and an easygoing attitude. Some people are interested in chatting and some aren’t, but he feels the opportunity to share something is always there and sees it as his calling to try.
Not every Mormon is expected to take on this intense form of expressing faith. Lowe referred to it simply as a way to reach out and share with others. He spent one year as a missionary in Colorado Springs. “Some people weren’t willing to give it a chance, but I just wanted to share and be able to explain who we are and let people make their own decisions about Mormonism,” Lowe said. “It helped change my own relationships with others. It made me understand myself better.”
Emily Swensen, a cognitive psychology master’s student, has not undergone work as a missionary, but has not erased it from her list of priorities and aspirations either. She has eight siblings, six of whom have done missionary work and found it gratifying. Her reasons for possibly pursuing this task are synonymous with Lowe’s: to reach out and share her love of Mormonism with others.
“My dad passed away when I was 18. My religion allows me to see and believe that death doesn’t mean that I won’t ever see him again,” Swensen said.

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We’ll Be Missing You

Childish antics plus stubbornness equals the cancellation of the National Hockey League.
[hockey1] No-preference sophomore Corey Clearman, member of MSU’s club hockey team, thinks the Detroit area, often referred to as “Hockeytown,” will be harder hit by the decision and more outraged than other parts of the nation. “I’m angered with it. I think the players are being extremely greedy and the NHL will be hurt severely by this cancellation,” Clearman said. “It’ll just anger more people in Hockeytown. Maybe more people will go watch baseball or something.”
United by the feats and woes of the home team, societies are connected through sports. They provide another realm in which real world problems are suspended for the duration of a game. If one sport isn’t airing during primetime, another one will be. Americans will still shuffle home from work to sit in front of the tube, listening to announcers chattering away.
“Most people in this country are very apathetic as to whether or not there is hockey being played and some may even be glad that it is not on, so they can watch more college basketball or what have you,” Alan Kish, mathematics junior and goalie for MSU’s club hockey team, said. “In the Detroit area the feeling is probably a lot stronger, but life goes on. The Pistons will probably get even more coverage this spring and summer as they defend their title.”
The fiasco has left a more stirring impact on some. Drew Miller, psychology junior and forward for MSU’s varsity hockey team, hopes the ban is a one-season-only deal. Miller remembers the feelings of awe and inspiration he experienced while watching his older brother Ryan play in the NHL for the first time. “It was crazy to see him play against guys that are superstars,” he said.
Ryan Miller cut his three-year goalie career at MSU short to go pro and play for the Buffalo Sabres. He is currently playing in the AHL for the Rochester Americans. Like his big brother, Drew hopes to one day skate onto the ice as a professional hockey player.
“Hockey is my life and hopefully my future job. I grew up watching and playing it,” Drew said. “Being only a sophomore, I don’t think I’m going to be affected by it, hoping that it doesn’t last until I graduate. I think that both sides have good and bad arguments. There should be a salary cap but not as low as they are trying to make it. I just want them to get it figured out A.S.A.P. so hockey won’t be ruined for a long time.”
[drew] Delaying the cancellation and then smashing all hopes of onlookers by failing to negotiate compromise, “professionals” made a mockery of their proficiencies by arguing like children and further sacrificing the integrity of hockey.
“The fact of the matter is hockey is not a popular sport in the U.S. and each side wants revenues that aren’t coming in. If both sides would’ve put the effort into a deal in December that they had in the last two weeks, something may have been able to get worked out,” Kish said. “But both sides were stubborn and were willing to sit out the season, and that’s exactly what they got.”
Hockeytown has already lost over $57 million because of the NHL suspension. Nicolas Lidstrom was declined from playing in the World Championships. Steve Yzerman may never grace the ice of the Joe again. Stanley won’t be presented for the first time since 1919, when a wild flu pandemic struck the nation.
Deprived fans have not yet turned to college hockey as a quick fix to pick them up from their hockey misery, for the Spartans have yet to sell out their games. Further proof: Basketball still makes the front page of The State News before hockey.
Nick Magina, general management sophomore and another member of MSU’s club team, summed up the sentiment across campus. “My life will go on without the NHL, but I miss watching it on T.V. That’s about it.”

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Lab Partner or Bounty Hunter?

Returning to my old high school, which recently received a Columbine-like scare, I was disturbed to find so many students apathetic toward school violence. I was also moved because so many of them felt unsafe at school and were accustomed to feeling this way. For our generation, school violence was shocking and unreal, but today it is almost a fact of student life. There is a war being fought half a world away in Iraq, but how can we fight against the undeclared war within our own school systems?
A whopping total of 13 were killed and 21 injured during one fateful spring morning in 1999. Most of us were in junior high or high school at the time and remember it well. The attack on Columbine High School that April was the worst school shooting in American history. The Colorado school was swept up in an unfortunate limelight and high schools across the nation incorporated new drill procedures to ensure safety for students in an effort to eliminate hysteria, ease the terrifying shock and lessen the chance of further devastating events.
The attack revolutionized the ways schools are run today. Unlike when most of us were growing up, it is rare to be allowed to carry a backpack or wear a coat during school hours. It’s much more difficult to enter buildings since new security measures and metal detectors have made their way into many urban and suburban high schools. These routines have become commonplace and anticipated.
With all the attention Columbine received, other shootings ensued in hopes of reaching the same level of horror. Bomb threats have become trite occurrences that don’t really faze students anymore. How much do all these events impact future generations?
The most recent school in the newspaper was my alma mater, Chippewa Valley High School. Luckily, police caught the 17-year-old before he could carry out his malicious attack. I come from an average, suburban neighborhood and experienced a delightful childhood. How could this almost have happened in my hometown?
When asking current students from Chippewa about their reactions and how security has escalated, I was shocked by almost all the responses I received.
Most students said they weren’t really frightened by the occurrence and that although lockdown drills (in which students take cover in case an unknown intruder enters the building) have become as routine as fire drills, they don’t feel any safer.
The general consensus I received was that the school didn’t make a big deal because they didn’t want other students to copycat the episode. However, many students did not have a lot of their facts straight. There are many rumors and tall tales making their way through the halls. The lockdown drills, also known as “Code Reds,” are mocked. Is this apathy, cynicism and dark humor just a coping mechanism, or is it how people really feel about kids killing kids?
The unanimous opinion seems to be if someone is determined to blow up the school, they will succeed. What a warped mindset! Throughout my 19 years of existence, I’ve been told I have the potential and ability to do whatever I set my mind to. To think that some take this notion and use it to harm others is pretty alarming.
Something needs to be done in today’s high schools to wake kids up and remedy the reality of living in a society where your lab partner also may be your bounty hunter.

Disagree? or want to give your opinion on the matter? Email us at letters@thebiggreen.net

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Not Getting any Greener

Go Green! Go White! Go Garbage?
As of now, our campus is not exactly living up to its green reputation.
MSU is the only Big Ten University without a recycling program facilitated by the university administration in residence halls. With the discontinuation of the on-campus recycling program managed by the Residence Hall Association, some students and faculty are frustrated with the way student tax dollars are being spent.
In the fall of 2003, the student-run RHA utilized the $22 semester fee from each resident and started a recycling program. Overwhelmed by cost and responsibility, members dropped the program with a 19-0 vote at the end of the 2004 fall semester.
Some students are concerned about how the $22 previously spent on recycling is being used now. “I think our money should still be spent on recycling,” telecommunications sophomore Andrew Malinovich said. “Spending it on other RHA things seems kind of pointless.”
Eco, MSU’s student environmental group, is concerned about the future of sustainability on campus. They are gearing up to take on the challenge of RHA’s former chore. With guidance from adviser Terry Link, director of the Office of Campus Sustainability, the group decided to start spreading awareness about the situation at hand.
The absence of a facility to collect and sort recyclables is one of the main challenges in creating a forceful, efficient system in the dorms. By generating awareness, money can be raised to create one of these centers.
Eco member Nick O’Connor said the organization needs help from the student body. “The process and program are so behind. It’s sad,” he said.
MSU committed to making the campus greener by employing a comprehensive recycling program in 1990, after a petition signed by 16,000 students was handed to the Board of Directors.
Eco goes “dorm storming” every week, alerting students of the administration’s promise of a thoroughly sustainable recycling program. They hope to persuade students to sign a new petition that will let the administration know just how many residents are aware of its unfulfilled pledge. Members of Eco are hoping the petition will also help more people realize that materials such as aluminum and plastic, in addition to paper products, should be recycled.
Academic buildings currently have a paper recycling program that is paid for by a general fund, independent of RHA. “There is still a robust recycling program at MSU,” Angela Brown, director of University Housing, said.
For many students and faculty members, this just isn’t enough. Joey Marogil, an MSU graduate and former Eco member, believes that Eco should scrap the recycling campaign for a more cutting edge proposal: green energy. This would mean elimination of coal burning, utilization of solar energy and even potentially burning cow manure for fuel.
“We really could do better. We’re poised to make some changes,” Link said. “In my book, we’re not going fast enough, but we have come a long way.”

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Who is Lou Anna?

I cradled my notebook in my lap and clutched my pen as questions for president-elect Lou Anna K. Simon formulated in my head last Tuesday during a question and answer forum held in the Case Hall lounge. I finally settled upon asking an honest question direct from my heart concerning an issue that has a lot of us a little uneasy lately.
On the morning of the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game in October, a nonresident attempted to enter a female student’s room without her permission on the second floor of Holden Hall. After being denied entrance to the room, he made his way down the hallway knocking on doors in attempt to get into any room. Police caught him making his rounds on the third floor and his explanation was that he was searching for a friend. With ten alleged rapes on campus (and still counting), scenarios like these are only becoming more familiar on campus. I am on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the university’s course of action in dealing with these foreboding security issues will be. It is a problem we cannot afford to overlook.
I decided that the future president of MSU would surely have a reassuring answer to calm my fears and insecurities. Simon simply responded with charm, a smile and an “I’m still looking into it” approach to the difficult issue. Explaining that because she is still currently provost and she doesn’t want to overlap occupations, she is not as up-to-speed on as many issues as she would like to be. She affirmed that she would be at the top of her game and have firm stances on more issues come Jan. 1. I still can’t help but wonder how she could evade such a pressing issue.
Nevertheless, Simon believes that the attitude among students is what needs to shift in order to curtail further problems. “We need to be taking care of each other, not taking advantage of one another,” Simon said
Claiming not to be naïve of the partying that occurs at MSU, she plans on having a conversation with the campus so collective expectations as a community can be established. Her goal is to obliterate confusion between students and administration over what changes and potential action are to be implemented.
The Women’s Resource Center says that there haven’t actually been more rapes on campus, just more reported cases. MSU has been responsible in handling the matters, and consequently, more victims are coming forward with their stories. Simon is glad to see more cases going reported, because it makes the issue easier to deal with.
All in all, Lou Ann K. Simon has her eyes fixated on a bright future for MSU students. She plans to expand the number of courses available to students, supports greater diversity among students, and hopes to become a more sustainable university in terms of recycling. She wants to strengthen and challenge those students in the James Madison College, and also hopes to provide a more flexible transition to Masters programs. Her position on the Worker’s Rights Consortium will continue to be unspecified until Jan. 1.
In order to help students identify with her on a more personal level in effort to be more compelling and effective in reaching students, she answered a few personal questions. Like so many MSU students who periodically travel home to visit family and friends, she still makes a trip up north every five weeks to see her mother. Her favorite color is green, which shows some true Spartan pride, and her favorite ice cream is chocolate, with anything peanut butter in it.
A first generation college student of a blue collar family, her grandparents and parents propelled her forward in all excursions because they wanted her to experience life in ways they could not.
“As anyone else, I am a product of pieces of individuals I’ve met throughout my life,” Simon explained.
It seems safe to say that Simon is considerate of the opinions and concerns of the students she will soon be presiding over. She is excited to begin her new position, and the students of MSU are anxious to see what exactly Lou Anna K. Simon will bring to campus. Her stances on the issues we face, such as the threat of rape, will have a huge impact on the university. We hope not to be disappointed.
In the meantime, it is unsettling that she has taken an “I’m still looking in to it” approach to the issues that are most important to us as students. If she will lead us into the next presidency here at MSU, she should have answers for our pressing questions. She is not a politician, and her job is to represent us in our community and nation. We hope to hear more from Lou Anna soon.

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No soy ningún estereotipo (I’m No Stereotype)

Being latino or latina on campus is not easy. As a very underrepresented minority in college, they have to fight off many negative stereotypes. Sigma Lambda Gamma, a latina sorority, is trying to break these stereotypes of Chicano/Latino students by hosting Leadership through Unity, Culture, Heritage and Activism (LUCHA), a leadership conference open to all MSU students on Saturday, Nov. 20.
The conference will be one step toward generating social change in the way Latinos are regarded. Speakers and activities will be directed at enlightening and empowering students to assume active roles in the community by strengthening their analytical skills, as well as reaching out to students who are not familiar with Latino culture. The goal is to have students leave the conference better equipped to function successfully in college and beyond. “LUCHA is important to all students, not just Chicano-Latino students, because its universal and valuable leadership skills and the progressivism of it provide the tools that are utilized outside collegiate life and in our careers,” said Allison Nevalga, vice president of marketing and new member educator of Sigma Lambda Gamma.
[greek] The Theta Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. at MSU is comprised of seven dedicated women, who are very active with the student body on campus and in the community. They took on this large project because of their passion for the cause their desire to establish themselves and the Latino community as able and competent members of society.
Vickie VanHurley, an advertising professor and academic advisor to Sigma Lambda Gamma, fully supported and helped the women in their endeavor by providing them with a solid foundation, helped with graphic design and created their banner. She realized the potential effect the conference could have on the future of their sorority and the Latino community. “It didn’t surprise me that they wanted to take this on. Even though they are a small chapter, they’re very prolific in everything they do and strive to do to the best of their ability,” VanHurley said.
The group received a lot of support and encouragement from various sponsors, including ASMSU, Culturas de las Razas Unidas, Office of Racial Ethnic Student Affairs, Case, Holden and Holmes governments, and their advisers. “Professors are encouraging students to attend because it is a cultural event, and it’s leadership either way. It’s important for everyone to learn about [Latino culture] because we are a growing people in the U.S.,” president and psychology junior Margarita Gonzalez said.
The conference is open to everyone and is free of charge for all MSU students. It begins Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 5:00 p.m. Activities include three workshops and a luncheon with a keynote presentation delivered by Victor Gonzalez, an esteemed professional speaker who was born into poverty, but worked his way up a steep socioeconomic ladder to become widely successful in his ventures. At age 35, he was vice president of a Fortune 500 Company and had built up an international market before becoming president of Global Sales & Marketing.
Other speakers include Marcos Popovich, Midwest Field Coordinator for the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute; Rosa Eréndira Morales, professor, mentor and director of the Hispanics in Journalism Program and the Minorities in Journalism Program at MSU; Dr. Jose A. Flores, founder of the Heritage Festival and the largest Hispanic publication in Michigan, Community Voice/La Voz magazine; and Diana Lee Hernandez-Maybank, creator of Iowa’s domestic violence database and a member of the University of Iowa’s Latino Association board.

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Out and Proud

The LBGT community is making their message clear. “Come Out. Speak Out. Vote” is the theme of this year’s National Coming Out Day, which took place on October 11. Student organizations at MSU have collaborated in constructing a week-long calendar of events running October 7-15.[voice]
National Coming Out Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This year’s theme is meant to encourage LBGT people to not only “come out” but also to talk with friends and family about their sexuality. “It’s important for us to be heard because the rest of the year we’re
not,” second year grad student T.J. Jourian said. “We’re silenced because of who we are. This is one week out of the year we get to focus on us.”
On Saturday October 9, many students gathered for the Rainbow Rush Dance in the Union. The dance was instituted so that students could come together and hang out without worrying about stereotypes and the awkward feeling of being ‘different’. “It is a social outlet on campus that is safe and comfortable. There are no outings,” Allen Stock, a math education senior and vice president of RING (Respecting Individuals on Neutral Ground) said.
On Wednesday, some students participated in a public demonstration called Act Out in effort to teach people about the connection between hateful speech and hate crimes. Participants silently distributed literature to other students, drawing attention to the slurs and hate words on their clothing and the fake bruises and blood on their faces.
Cameron Venier, a psychology sophomore and president of PRIDE (People Respecting Individuality Diversity and Equality), expressed the importance of college students – the next generation – being heard, including those of the LBGT community. “We do have a voice,” Venier said.
The National Coming Out Day activities will come to an end with a LBGT Seminar Series in the Ohio State room of the MSU Union from 12-1 p.m. on Thursday. The Series, titled “Getting Bi: Bisexual Women’s Identity and Community at Michigan State University” is being presented by Julie E. Hartman, a doctoral student in feminist sociology. On Friday, the Coalition of LBGT Students will be walking in the Homecoming Parade at 6 p.m., starting at Abbot and Burcham.
Even participating in the parade spreads awareness to those outside the LBGT community. “It’s very important to educate causes and concerns of students so that they feel more comfortable to come out, and break down stereotypes.” Jared Leifeld, who is a part of the Student Affairs Administration, said. “The week is important because it puts a face on LBGT. That we are not just some people; we are the people on your dorm floor, in your classes, in the integral community.”
LBGT people are hopeful for a future that accepts them as they are, but they realize this loosening up of the public may take some time. For now, they are making efforts to educate the public and spread awareness on the negative effects of such things as stereotypes and hate crime, an important message around election time when the right to gay marriage is being tested.

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Giving Back

[older]They gave up thirsty Thursday to open the playroom for children staying at Haven House, a shelter for homeless families. They took time out on Friday afternoon to visit the elderly. They got up at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday (apparently it does exist) to register Special Olympic participants for the Pi Mile.
Circle K International, affiliated with Kiwanis International, at MSU is one branch of the volunteer and leadership organization that prides itself on giving back to the community. Members focus on leadership and service, and volunteer their time at various social events.
“I like to do volunteer work,” new member and special education junior Erin Hansen said. “They make it easy to do, because they put things together and organize rides.”
President Kristy Slominski, a German sophomore, feels it is important to bond with a group of people over their shared interest in helping the community. Her favorite memory from Circle K was when she and others worked with a group of mentally challenged Boy Scouts. She said the experience helped her to realize a different aspect of the community, and left her feeling as if her time and effort had made an impact. The boyscouts had made an impact on her as well.
On Friday, October 1, Circle K visited Burcham Hills Retirement Community to socialize with residents and help the staff with paperwork. They organized a tea party and flower arranging project for the seniors who were excited to spend time with a younger generation. The look on the residents’ faces and their kind words of appreciation made the experience rewarding, to say the least.
“I think it’s excellent, not only for us, but for them, too,” said Vivian Kuchek, a resident of Burcham Hills.
Circle K is composed of an incredible group of hardworking, devoted individuals who exercise their compassion and render their services to the community at the expense of themselves.
To become a member of Circle K, you must attend meetings on Sunday nights, three weeks out of the month, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ohio State room of the Union. Participants are encouraged to take part in community service events organized by the group. Participants choose which events they would like to attend and the number of hours they volunteer. There are many socials to attend such as canoeing trips, Sunday dinners, the Make-A-Wish Tiger’s game and dances hosted by Grand Valley State University. Members must also pay a $40 fee, the majority of which goes to put on Circle K International leadership conferences. In college terms, $40 is a hefty amount of cash, which proves how devoted the group’s members are.
Circle K will continue to leave it’s mark on the community and a smile on the face of every person they visit, even if it means sacrificing their day to make someone else’s a little brighter.

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Battle at the Polls

[voting] He’s 19. He thought about going to college after graduation, but meager funds made that dream a bleak one. So he did what he thought was right and joined up. Now he’s fighting in war he does not understand. He is your brother, your sister, your friend and neighbor. He puts his life on the line for the vague notions of freedom and democracy.
It’s those very notions that Americans and our enemies have shed blood over for centuries. They are fighting in a war they may or may not agree with so we don’t have to. Nonetheless, they are fighting for a country that treasures its democracy. Our democracy, ever flawed and fractured, makes it possible for college students like us to feel safe, exercise our rights and be heard.
Imagine what would happen if we actually took advantage of that freedom.
In the 2000 election, only 36 percent of eligible young people, ages 18-24, voted. This is down from over 50 percent in 1972.
Why is it that we’re just not voting?
One reason could be the law that requires the addresses on a voter’s driver license and registration card to correspond. This has made voting an arduous task for students in East Lansing. Without an absentee ballot, students who are registered at home can’t vote while away at college. The hassle is enough to discourage some students from voting altogether.
However, in a press conference on Monday, Sept. 20, Sen. Bernero and Sen. Cherry introduced legislation to reclaim student-voting rights. With only days left until the deadline, their proposals will not have any affect on this election, but their message was clear: students have been curtailed access to the ballot box.
“Students of all political stripes have been disenfranchised by a state law that makes it nearly impossible to vote while you are in college,” Nathan Triplett, a political and social relationships senior, said at the press conference.
“We need to change that so more students can participate in our most important obligation as citizens- voting for our local, state and national leaders.”
Katie Morabito, a psychology sophomore, agrees that students are at a voting disadvantage but feels it is important to vote despite of difficulties.
[vote] “Our generation is the one that’s fighting in Iraq,” she said, with heated frusteration. “The leader we choose is in charge of our friends, our peers who are over there. People can’t pick up the phone and call for an absentee ballot? There’s no excuse for that! We’re fighting for democracy and yet, we’re not exercising that. It’s ridiculous!”
Not everyone feels as though students are disenfranchised. Mike Kusner, a mechanical engineering senior, believes that is easy to register to vote on campus because of the online and telephone options in accordance to the station set up at the Union.
National and local groups, such as RHA, have made valiant efforts to register students including setting up registration booths in dorm lobbies and campus hotspots and coordinating programs for students that allow Students for Bush and Kerry to publicly voice their viewpoints.
Student volunteers, like Jon Hoadley of MSU Stonewall Democrats, a chapter of a national Democratic organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, have gone door-to-door in dorms and throughout East Lansing talking to citizens about the elections and registering them to vote.
The deadline to register is quickly approaching. Monday, October 4th, is the last day to register to vote in the 2004 Presidential election.
Students can take their own initiative by visiting their city clerk or any Secretary of State branch in the state. East Lansing’s branch is located one block north of Grand River at 400 Albert Street. To obtain an absentee ballot, send a letter of request to the clerk’s office in the city or township in which you’re registered, stating the reason for being absent or a call for an application.
There has also been an impressive amount of political hype at MSU concerning the election, perhaps not only to get students register but to influence their vote as well.
The Bush twins, Ralph Nader, Senators Virg Bernero and Deb Cherry, and Michael Moore have all made appearances on campus trying to persuade viewpoints, gain support and encourage voting. College Democrats and Republicans, Stonewall Democrats and RHA Rock the Vote, among other organizations, have devoted their time to registering and informing students about the election.
[page]
Websites such as www.youthvote.com and www.rockthevote.com call on youth voters to exercise their rights and register. They are also useful to get information concerning the election, candidate platforms and involvement opportunities. At www.vote-smart.org/index.htm, all you have to do is type in the issue you want to learn more about and it will provide you with information.
Students who are not sure if they are registered can type in their name at www.youvote.msu.edu and find out. The website contains information on city and township clerks in Michigan and every candidate running for office. There is also a calendar of events highlighting political activity across campus.
Many media icons and pop stars have also jumped on the voting bandwagon.
The Vote Dammit! Tour featuring the progressive folk-rocker Ani DiFranco and comedian Margaret Cho came to MSU Wednesday Sept. 29 to “promote the vote” through music and comedy. Registration opportunities were set up so students could register during the concert.
[random] Move On PAC’s Vote for Change tour is an anti-Bush campaign that is making its rounds through the swing states, including Michigan on October 3. Pearl Jam and Death Cab for Cutie are performing in Grand Rapids; Dixie Chicks and James Taylor at the Fox Theatre; Bruce Springsteen and REM at Cobo Arena; and Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper, Jurassic 5 and My Morning Jacket at the Palace. Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt are coming to MSU’s Wharton Center.
When asked if the musical performances will make an impact on society, Amber Morris, an English junior and member of Students for Bush, replied that she thinks it will let the public know that students and young people do care about voting.
With issues on the line this election like the war in Iraq, the economy and the environment students have more reason to vote this November. Organizations like Rock the Vote, and musical tours featuring big names will also raise student interest levels and may result in a larger voter turnout in this election.
Although there may be obstacles for students to overcome, there are no excuses for not being registered by Monday and voting in November.
It’s time to use the sway we have as one-fourth of the voting population. We owe it to that 19-year-old kid with no name. The voting booth is your battleground and casting an educated ballot is your ammunition.

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