Editor’s note: This article has been corrected since its initial publication to accurately attribute the #RowanVotes initiative to the proper organizers. The print copies of the newspaper were published and distributed before this inaccuracy was corrected.
A voter registration booth stood outside Rowan University’s Chamberlain Student Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The booth was set up for the #RowanVotes campus-wide initiative, with which many campus organizations collaborate. One of the initiative’s collaborators, Rowan’s Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship (RIPPAC), was established in Jan. 2018 by director Dr. Benjamin Dworkin.
Dworkin, along with Dr. Katharine Javian, a professor of political science, co-chair the #RowanVotes initiative.
According to Dr. Dworkin, voting in this year’s election is of paramount importance, and he hopes that all Rowan students will take part. “Your voice as Generation Z is critical to helping this nation find the direction it’s going to take as you cast your vote. Suppose you don’t exercise the right to vote. In that case, other people are making decisions for you on many issues that students today find important,” Dworkin said.
One of Dr. Javian’s classes at Rowan University aim to produce a guide to voter education and encourage students to learn about the candidates and issues, and to cast informed ballots.
“To make any kind of decision like who to vote for demands and relies on involvement and people being a part of society. Exercising your right to vote is the most basic way of being an active citizen,” Dworkin said.
RIPPAC is designed to inform, engage and train students, faculty and the public in applied politics, active citizenship and public policy. To do so, the institute offers programs and hosts guest speakers that focus on the practice of politics and citizen participation. RIPPAC also supports students through academic and career development and helps with internship and scholarship opportunities.
The #RowanVotes multifaceted initiative has three important pillars: to register, educate and mobilize every eligible Rowan student.
RIPPAC ultimately hopes to actively assist Rowan University in becoming involved in national policy discussions but is currently focusing on the upcoming election.
“We really hope that we can get 100% of the eligible students to cast a vote in November. That is our ultimate goal. Where the students are concerned, my hope for them is that their voice is heard and that they get involved in the election so that this year there will be more votes than ever before,” Dworkin said.
Katie Driscoll, a junior biomedical engineering major, worked the booth outside the Student Center. Driscoll feels that voting in the election is crucial.
“Voting is really important because it’s a right that we have, and it’s also a civic duty. We’ve seen how voting is important in past elections. In 2016, only 50% of eligible students voted, which is a significant issue… I feel like the importance of voting is obvious,” Driscoll said.
Driscoll sympathizes with the #RowanVotes collaborative initiative and hopes to achieve the goal of 100% of eligible students being registered and placing their ballots in the upcoming election.
“There’s no reason you shouldn’t be registered if you can. Personally, I think it would be really nice to see students be more politically involved, not just on Instagram or going to protests but actually taking the active vote. Our voice is through voting, and it’s the most powerful voice we have in a democratic government,” Driscoll said.
According to Driscoll, all New Jersey voters will automatically be mailed a mail-in ballot to the address at which they are registered to vote, and Rowan will have a ballot drop box for students to submit their mail-in vote, as well as at least one polling place in Glassboro on Election Day.
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