Sep 112008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Registering to vote could be as easy as ordering a cup of coffee on campus.

The student-run voter coalition Vote CSU! is looking to open voter registration access at desk counters and convenient locations all over campus. Tuesday, the coalition opened voter registration locations throughout the Lory Student Center to provide students a convenient and hassle-free registration experience at CSU.

The coalition, made up of student and administrative organizations, adopted the color purple to denote bipartisanship, mixing red and blue. The coalition has registered 1,694 students since June 1. They are increasing efforts to register 10,000 by the national deadline on Oct. 6, and will make their final push the week beforehand.

Their slogan, “Elect to Effect,” decided during the kick-off meeting Thursday, represents the coalition’s belief in the importance of the long-downplayed student vote in elections. As of Tuesday, students can make the democratic trek to register at several locations in the Lory Student Center, which include:

the Info Desk

the Campus Box Office

ASCSU office

Off-Campus Student Services / Resources for Adult Learners

the Women’s Advocacy Office

Students can also register online at http://studentvote.org.

Ideally, leaders in the registration effort hope to train as many university branches in voter registration as possible to maximize accessibility to the students.

“We are pursuing other areas on campus,” said Katie Freudenthal, director for Community Affairs for the Associated Students of CSU. “We have to be strategic; for that reason, we are trying to gain access into dorms and other campus areas during high-peak hours.”

In a “perfect world,” the coalition would provide 24-hour registration access by training the front-desk employees in the Student Recreation Center and residence halls, Freudenthal said.

Staff in Off-Campus Student Services/Resources for Adult Learners emphasized the importance and initial success of the newly integrated voter registration services.

“People don’t want to go out of their way, and they have a lot in their lives,” said student staff member Luke Schnickel, an English education senior. “This provides them with an opportunity to vote on campus, and it’s easy.”

Last spring, ASCSU called for outside reinforcements to aid in their efforts. The coalition joined forces with two national non-partisan groups, the United States Student Association Foundation and the New Voters Project. Both organizations work to develop grassroots voter registration efforts on college campuses.

The NVP, a non-profit, non-partisan subsection of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, approached ASCSU last spring. The Senate later passed a resolution inviting the NVP to work with the university. CPIRG, based in Denver, works to “increase voter participation among 18-to-24-year-olds,” according to the organization’s Web site.

Amanda Varley, a representative with NVP, provides professional grassroots aid and oversight. Varley, who underwent one month of intensive training with the NVP before stepping onto campus Sept. 21, hired 11 student interns, including Freudenthal, to build the registration campaign. Varley also visited classes during the past two weeks to talk about voter registration and volunteering for the coalition.

“We are really on course with a lot of other programs,” Varley said. “Our goals will be met near the end of the registration period around [Oct. 6], and in my first week, we were No. 1 [in the nation] for online registration.”

Staff writer Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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