Ah, college. No parents, no curfews and no one to answer to but yourself – it truly is a time of independence. But with independence comes responsibility and one of the biggest responsibilities college students possess is the role they play in voting for their governmental representatives. Now I know what many of you are already thinking – “I don’t get involved in politics” – and honestly, I can understand why. Unfortunately, in the evolution of democracy in our great country, the issues of heated and dramatic politics have often overshadowed the great freedom we possess to vote for what we believe. And besides, we’re having so much fun in college, so who cares what’s going on in the real world, right? Well, while we may get frustrated with politics and not see the direct effects of our individual voting efforts, there’s a lot to be said about being part of something bigger than ourselves that makes a difference in the world we call home. Education, taxes, sustainability, wars, AIDS epidemics, poverty and civil rights are just a handful of issues that will take a long time to solve, but the solution starts by taking two minutes out of your day to register to vote.

Voting provides you with a power to make change, a power that our ancestors died for so we can live in a country where we get to decide our leaders. And most importantly, voting gives us the opportunity to send a strong message to our elected leaders of how they should care about the access students have to quality college education, because after all, we are the future workforce that will continue to lead America into the 21st century. The decisions our government makes today shapes the lives we will live tomorrow.

During fall quarter, ASI Student Government had a goal to register 1,000 students in time for the California primary elections in February. The cut-off date to register is Jan. 22, 2008 and to conclude the registration drive, ASI will host an event called “Rocking the Vote” in the University Union Plaza on Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will include representatives from some of the U.S. presidential candidates as well as activities that will get students informed and in the spirit to make a difference through the power of voting. Food will be there, too.

And the best part of registering to vote . it’s easy! A voter registration page takes less time to fill out than a professor’s quarter-end evaluation form (and is probably a lot less painful). By the way, for those of you who think you’re doomed for jury duty if you register to vote, you’re probably already in the jury pool. The California courts use both your driver’s license and your voter registration information to summon you for jury duty.

No time on Jan. 15? Stop by the ASI Student Government office in the University Union between classes and pick up a voter registration card – we’ll even mail it for you!

Welcome back to school and, as always, I welcome your comments and feedback at asipresident@calpoly.edu. Go Mustangs!

Brandon Souza is an agribusiness senior, ASI president and a guest columnist for the Mustang Daily.

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