October 2012
Capstone October 2012 Howard University  
Howard Students Gear Up for Election Day
Collaborative Efforts Spark Voter Registration Efforts
By Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, intern, Office of University Communications
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With the presidential election just weeks away and so many important issues at stake, Howard University students are gearing up for Election Day with a concerted effort to encourage their peers to vote.

Collaborations between the Howard University Student Association (HUSA), the College of Arts and Sciences, Rock the Vote, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other organizations are getting students enthusiastic about casting their vote on Nov. 6.

A voter registration table in Douglass Hall provides greater access for students, while members of the NAACP man tables in the Punchout and canvass the campus. Octavia Butler, a sophomore from Alaska who serves as the membership chair for the NAACP and is in charge of civic engagement at Howard, has an active role with voter registration.

“The closer we get to the election, the hotter the topics are, and the more tangible the excitement is for this election,” says Butler.

“People are excited because they recognize that it’s important, now more than ever, especially for young African Americans, to vote.”

HUSA is also very involved in these efforts. Members of HUSA attended this year’s AT&T Nations Football Classic game, where they registered around 150 people. And, for National Voter Registration Day, they hosted an event called icount in Burr Gymnasium, where they helped register students from various states, providing detailed information on each state’s voting laws.

For many students, their first time voting is significant. “My mom has never voted, and now I have the chance to make a difference. Howard University was my dream school, and I need financial aid to be here so who gets elected is very important to me,” says Breanna Smith, a freshman from North Carolina.

In the 2008 election, college students came out to vote in record numbers. This election, some students are worried about what they feel is a lack of enthusiasm among their peers. Alyson Pierce, a junior from Atlanta and the press secretary for HUSA, says: “People aren’t as excited because in the last election Obama was the first serious Black contender for the presidency. This time around people assume President Obama has the election in the bag.”

Kwaku Osei-Bousu, a senior from Detroit and a volunteer for HUSA, agrees with Pierce. “People are too comfortable with this election, and this makes me nervous because you can never be overconfident with something as significant as an election.”

Jennifer Brooks, a junior from Mississippi, disagrees. “I think it’s [the election] going to be a good one because there is good competition [between President Obama and Mitt Romney],” she says. “People are excited because they recognize that it’s important, now more than ever, especially for young African Americans, to vote.”

No matter whom students plan on voting for and what their stance is on the issues, the message from dedicated student volunteers is to be aware and to take action. Madiagne Sarr, vice president of HUSA, says, “We are bipartisan, partnering with organizations all over campus. We just want you to go out and vote.”

For more information on Howard’s voting initiatives, visit http://www.howard.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/Howard2012ElectionEvents.html.
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