October 2, 2016-
It’s hard not to notice that we’re in the midst of an important election cycle and the move is on to have Mount Ida become a “voter-friendly” campus. What exactly does that mean?
Under the leadership of Gregg Grenier, Director of Community Engagement, and James Dulin, Assistant Director of Social Justice and Inclusion, a coalition has been formed to introduce a participatory culture when it comes to the democratic process, especially voting. Grenier and Dulin have been working since April – and will be through the next academic year – with NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) and the Campus Vote Project to implement programs and initiatives that break down voter access and awareness barriers that will lead to Mount Ida College receiving a “Voter Friendly” designation. This designation would last from March 2017 to December 2018.
Dulin, Grenier, the staff at the Wadsworth Library, and members of the Associated Student Government will be organizing voter registration drives, ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, an on-campus mock election, transportation to and from the polls on election day, an election night watching-party and more. “We want to make sure that our students realize the importance of exercising their right to cast a vote,” says Dulin, “and more importantly that they are informed about the process, access, and the issues.”
Many students are not aware of how easy it is to register and/or that residential students can list Mount Ida as their address when doing so. “For other students, staff, and faculty, we want to make sure they know where their polling station is and how to file an absentee ballot if they can’t get to their location and still want to vote,” says Grenier.
This year, in addition to the all-important presidential race, there are also congressional races and state-wide ballot questions that Grenier and Dulin want to be sure the students know about. “We are sure the Mount Ida community will have strong opinions about the questions on the Massachusetts ballot,” says Grenier. “Ballot questions can be very confusing, so we will be working with the library staff to put together mock ballots and non-partisan background information to both demystify the process and to empower the community with the information to cast an informed vote.”
“An informed student body is the best student body,” says Grenier.
The following events and resources have been created for the benefit of the Mount Ida community to become active participants in the 2016 Election.
Non-partisan information: The Mount Ida Library put together an Election 2016 guide that is extremely helpful in learning everything there is to know about this year’s election!
Register to vote and Absentee Ballots: The Mount Ida Library and the Campus Center Information Desk (top floor) will have voter registration and absentee ballot information for all 50 states. Stamps will be provided for anyone that needs them to send in one of these forms. *Mount Ida Residential Students can use Mount Ida as their voting address.
Debate Watching Parties:
- Tuesday, October 4th at 9PM in the Campus Center Theater (Vice President Debate)
- Sunday, October 9th at 9PM in the Campus Center Theater
- Wednesday, October 19th at 9PM in the Wingate Event Center
Issue-based Lunch and Learns:
- Criminal Justice: Friday, October 7th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
- Foreign Policy: Friday, October 14th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
- Environment: Wednesday, October 19th from 12-1PM in the Oak Hill Room
- Healthcare: TBD (Last week in October)
Mock Election: What if Mount Ida students, staff, and faculty were to decide the 2016 Election? Only one way to find out! On Tuesday, October 25th, the Mount Ida Library will be transformed into a polling station where everyone at Mount Ida will have a chance to vote by using the Massachusetts ballot from 7:30AM until 9PM.
Election Day: Tuesday, November 8th
Transportation: For anyone that has Mount Ida as their voting address,there will be a shuttle to the local polling station in Newton. And there will be an Election Night Party in Wingate to watch the results come in.