The Stout Student Association has been busy this fall ensuring that UW-Stout students know Tuesday, Nov. 6, is Election Day and that they have the right to vote.
With that work done, the student governing body wants to have some fun. From 8 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, the SSA will host its first Election Watch Party, one the SSA hopes will become a biennial event.
The nonpartisan party, with free food, games and prizes, will be held in the Terrace, on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center. Televisions in the Terrace will be tuned in to election coverage.
“It’s nonpartisan, so we encourage all students to come,” said Deon Canon, SSA communications director, adding that the event is open to the public as well.
The goal of the party is to “reshape the narrative around voting by fostering a fun and inclusive environment,” said Canon, of Milwaukee, a senior majoring in professional communication and emerging media. He has a concentration in history and politics and a minor in peace studies.
Election watch parties are common around the country but typically are partisan, Canon said.
The idea for the nonpartisan party came from Zipporah Turnbull, SSA member and the Black Student Union events coordinator. Turnbull, of Milwaukee, is a senior in applied social science with a concentration in sociology and anthropology and a minor in peace studies.
Canon said it’s important for the SSA to “maintain a nonpartisan representation of all students.”
The Election Watch Party also is sponsored by the Black Student Union, SpeakUp, Stout Students Unite and the university’s Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation. The League of Women Voters also is partnering with the SSA.
The party is a culmination of SSA efforts the past two months to create awareness about the election:
- On Election Day, a voter registration table will be in the student center to assist students. Chancellor Bob Meyer will be registering students at noon.
- On Oct. 29-30, SSA and StoutReach hosted Rock the Vote events in the student center to help students register. Meyer joined SSA members one of the days.
- On Oct. 24, SSA and StoutReach hosted a panel discussion, Becoming an Educated Voter, which included voter registration materials.
- On National Voter Registration Day in September, the SSA sponsored a booth at the student center.
- A Voting Information webpage on the university’s website provides information for students on how to register and vote, key races on the ballot, finding the correct polling place and how to do absentee voting.
In the 2014 midterm election, just 18 percent of college students in the U.S. voted, according to a study by Tufts University.
The SSA’s voter registration efforts have been led by Shane Miller, of Woodbury, Minn., who is the senator for civic engagement. He is a senior majoring in applied social science, with a concentration in history, politics and economics and a minor in peace studies.
Stout Student Association members, joined by Chancellor Bob Meyer, hold a Rock the Vote registration event at the Memorial Student Center.