On Sep 22 SOU’s OSPIRG chapter hosted a student leader panel to celebrate National Voter Registration Day. SOU’s OSPIRG campus organizer Lisa Torstenson was joined by three student panelists to discuss the importance of voting.
ASSOU President Sarah Grulikowski, OSPIRG Chapter Chair Alex Szabo and Asian Student Union Chair of Digital Communications Keri Clement are the three student leaders who shared their insights over Zoom. All three panelists connected the importance of National Voter Registration Day to the students they serve and represent.
Representing OSPIRG, Szabo noted the organization’s historical connection to public interest issues – which often cumulate at the state capital. “We are a grassroots organization, and as I’ve witnessed in past campaigns, change often starts locally and grows from there,” said Szabo.
Grulikowski, recently elected ASSOU President, likened voting to using your voice and changing the world. “The power to effect change begins with you and if you start with yourself at least you know you’re getting somewhere,” said Grulikowski.
Clement brought up low voting rates of Asian-American voters, inaccessible voting, and normalizing voting culture. “Normalizing this stuff is so important…people are so scared to vote because they think they need to be political, but it effects all of us, it really does,” said Clement.
Torstenson later asked the three panelists for ideas of how to reach out to other students to spread the message of voter registration.
“We’re in a digital world right now, so we’ve definitely had to change our tactics…putting voter registration into every event and making it as much of our culture as possible,” suggested Szabo.
“For me it’s about relationship building and connections, and really genuine partnerships. I think you see that in student government too,” said Grulikowski.
All panelists spoke about how their groups are switching to the virtual world and what their plans are for the fall.
ASU plans to hold virtual events and contests on Instagram and Zoom. OSPIRG is running three campaigns this term, two of which are mostly virtual. ASSOU is active on Instagram and will begin formal senate and committee meetings within the next weeks.
The National Voter Registration Day event concluded with a campaign action; each attendee texted friends and asked them to register to vote.
National Voter Registration Day is a civic holiday celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of September to bring awareness to voter registration. The deadline to register to vote in Oregon is Oct 13, and students can register or update their voting information at studentvote.org