For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 25 2016
by Daphine Henderson

Big Ten Student Government Leaders Help Over 30,000 Students Register to Vote

By Daphine Henderson - Oct 25 2016

For this fall semester, the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) launched “Vote BIG,” a method that helped register over 30,000 students to vote for the November election.

Ranging from Northwestern University, the only private college, to large flagship public colleges, like the University of Maryland College Park, a diverse body of over a half a million undergraduate students at 14 schools in 11 states are represented. According to the Huffington Post, the elected federal officials include 22 U.S. Senators, 118 U.S. Representatives and 140 electoral votes.

Young millennials aged 18-29 have traditionally voted at lower rates than older voters. With student government leaders collaborating with student organizations, each Big Ten school employed a variety of creative methods to make voter registration easier and more accessible for their students.

Registering students is essential in order to eliminate the large barrier in participation on Election Day. In the 2008 election, 84 percent of millennials actually voted. ABTS hopes to contribute a more diverse, representative electorate of all ages, education levels and outside perspectives and viewpoints.

It is more important than ever for college students and their vote to be taken seriously. With important legislation that affects college students such as the Higher Education Act and expansions of Pell Grants and financial aid reform being debated and rewritten by those elected in November, it is important to know that by voting, college students have the power to influence the national conversations and their later outcomes.

The influences will mainly be impactful at the state level as some state legislatures continue to cut funding to higher education. Many college students are so full of debt that it creates an obstacle in their future goals, such as buying a car, starting a small business or building a dream home. College students have the power to elect legislators that will reverse the tradition of cutting higher education investments, and eventually work to make sure everyone has the opportunity to affordably attend college. 

We hope this campaign for Vote BIG helps send the message that college students’ voices also matter and have a strong chance of being the deciding factor this November.   

Lead Image Credit: ABTS 

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Daphine Henderson - University of Maryland, College Park

Daphine Henderson is a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park majoring in Music Performance on Bass. She enjoys reading, writing, and anything involved with music and art. Follow her on Twitter @Guinea231 !

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