Rock the Vote

Campus festival brings in Vote Smart Bus and a flurry of election activity

Get on the bus, Gus—the Smart Vote Bus, that is. The national program, Project Vote Smart, is rolling onto campus today for the Saint Mary’s Rock the Vote Festival. Just one of the many election-related activities happening today, the Bus is a red, white, and blue extravaganza of voter information. The Rock the Vote festival also includes an exhibit of campus organizations and a voter registration table in the Student Center. It’s all part of an effort to educate our students on what Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) director Carrie Call says “gives Saint Mary’s students an opportunity to learn about the whole electoral process.”

Call and other faculty, staff, and students have been busy planning the Festival, which took weeks of preparation on behalf of the Justice Education program, Campus Ministry, the political science department, Student Involvement, and many others. “The mission of Rock the Vote is to get people informed of the voting process, squash any false rumors about political candidates, and let the students find out information on the candidates so they can make an informed choice in the election,” says Blaine Nolan, senior and presidents of College Democrats. Nolan is most excited about the Vote Smart Bus, which carries information about candidates and key issues to constituents in cities across the country.

At this all women’s College, students have been more involved in this Presidential election process partly because women have been more involved as candidates than ever before. Both Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Sarah Palin’s Vice-Presidential nomination have garnered interest. “I’ve witnessed more student interest in this election campaign than in any campaign since I arrived here in 1981,” says political science professor Patrick Pierce. Campaigns and elections are Pierce’s area of expertise, and he’ll be holding a lunchtime discussion with students entitled, “How the Electoral Process Actually Works.” Pierce hopes to “provide students with some background information to help them channel their enthusiasm effectively.”

Check out our Rock the Vote Festival photo gallery.