Students encouraged to participate in voting

Bernadotte SufkaOpinions & Features Editor

“Southern Votes” is a brand-new event on campus, combining voting history facts, voting registration, feminism, communications and different art mediums, all in one.

The event took place outside and inside of Earl Hall where students could RSVP and work to learn how to create posters inside the graphic design lab, or register and learn about voting outside.

“Southern Votes” is an event educating students about the importance of voting—but also tying contemporary issues to also art making,” said graduate assistant Luciana McClure, main host of Southern Votes.

The event was a collaboration between the Women and Gender Studies Department and Art Department addressing visual literacy.

“We think about art activism and ways that we are actually tapping into the part of us as creators and makers and how we utilize creativity. Poster design is what we’re doing to make your voices heard. We also thought of who else we should partner with and we have a history department professor, Siobhan Carter-David and she’s making historical facts around voting. Particularly to us in the Women and Gender studies, we are looking into women’s issues and how is it that we’re all being affected within our community,” said McClure.

The event brought forth many professors and student helpers to aid in setting up the outdoor tables, different art mediums and advertising flyers.

It happened on Oct. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Students could come and go to learn about the multiple stations available.

Due to classroom capacity restrictions, students had to email McClure beforehand if they wanted to learn and be able to design a poster of their choice.

“I found out about this event through Lucy who is my teacher assistant for my gender class,” said communications major Hannah Birenbaum, a senior. “I guess I didn’t know a lot, but I can always know more about the history of voting because we’re taught in such a linear way in high school about it. I think it’s cool to hear it from different perspectives.”

The university community continues to promote more awareness on voting and always has registration open to all students. To have this event run on main campus brought more understanding in a fact based and creative perspective. The many education departments that were a part of it enhanced students’ learning views and interests upon the start of the event.

“I found out about this event because I’m a member of OLAS and they sent a general email out,” said sociology major Andreina Barajas, a freshman. “I was already on campus for tutoring sessions and I decided to stop by before I head back home. Since I’m a sociology major, I’m not really exposed to these types of things, but I would be interested in learning more about the graphic design and voter turnout.”

Students who did not major in any of the following departments collaborating the event participated and were exposed to new information and skills.

The atmosphere was open, and the professors were more than happy to assist students with their small projects and explain the medium to them. The outdoor space made it easier and more accessible during this time to bring forth any students on campus, willing to learn about what the event offered.

“To allow someone to vote does not necessarily mean access to voting,” said McClure. “There are a lot of thing we are hoping to engage with students as we think about language, history, facts, stories and what is our responsibility to each other and to our community.”

Southern Votes organized a large list of diverse topics and skills on campus and for students to become more aware about.

Photo credit: Bria Kirklin

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