The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE club organizes for November election

By Aaron Turner/reporter

NE Campus’ Student Political Awareness Club is pushing to increase voter awareness at TCC in preparation for the college’s early voting polling site in the upcoming November election.

Although dormant the past few semesters, the club has found a resurgence of interest this fall, said adviser and history instructor Tramaine Anderson.

“I’m really happy that we’ve had a handful of students wanting to become involved with this club,” she said. “We’ve been kind of slow getting started with conflicting schedules and students just now finding out about us.”

SPAC held its first meeting Oct. 14, nearly a month and a half after classes began.

Even before the organization’s first meeting, SPAC members Eric Espino and Peter Salas had been busy organizing and running voter registration booths.

“We were really happy and surprised with the results we had,” Salas said. “I feel like we reached out a lot more than we had anticipated we could.”

Along with Espino and a few other SPAC members, the club registered more than 150 new students.

“It was a surprise, to be honest,” Espino said. “I thought at first we were only going to get maybe 15 or 20 people to register.”

The biggest age group registered, according to Espino, was students 18-24, virtually all of them first-time voters.

Espino said many of the students also were unaware that an election was even about to happen.

“I think a lot of people, especially younger people, only care or pay attention to the presidential election, and that’s it,” he said. “I was kind of shocked to hear how many people didn’t have a clue about midterms or what they were even voting on.”

A recent statement made by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly regarding a lack of youth voting had especially irked Espino.

“O’Reilly said he thought Obama going to a station like MTV and reaching out to youth was a last-ditch effort,” he said. “I feel like this is how a lot of people view the youth vote in America as just something that isn’t really worth going after.”

Government and economics instructor and fellow adviser Joan Johnson said she was not surprised by the lack of awareness for the upcoming election.

“It makes me sad really, knowing how many people here are often clueless about who’s representing them or what they can vote for,” she said. “That’s one of our biggest goals, to simply educate people on the voting process as a whole.”

Salas explained the importance of the club’s mission statement, which stresses above all else, a nonpartisan stance.

“I’m personally a very conservative person,” he said. “And when it comes to talking with people about becoming active in politics or voting, I’m, of course, never going to persuade them to take one stance or another. Our goal is just to get them to vote.”

With the ease in which students will be able to vote, Espino hopes all students take advantage of TCC’s early voting Oct. 26-28.

“Why should a student waste time and gas driving miles somewhere to find their local precinct when they can just vote right here on campus?” he said.

Despite a delayed start this semester, partially caused by the sudden death of former club adviser and government department chair Bill Ward in early September, club members and advisers alike are excited to continue pushing for higher political awareness on campus.

Aside from voter registration, both advisers said they would like to have local candidates for city, county and state offices speak to both club members and TCC students as well as have forums or debates to create more interest in politics.

“It’s a great feeling, getting people active for maybe the first time in their life,” Espino said.

“There are plenty of people who are really politically motivated out there. You just have to find them.”

 

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