Ryan Chartrand

So many students are unaware of the issues on the ballot this Nov. 7, so Associated Students Inc. is putting on CP Next: Generation Vote. The event will be held Wednesday and Thursday this week and bring awareness to many current local issues.

The event will consist of seven events throughout both days. Three of the events will involve Cal Poly clubs from all areas of interest.

“This is a really good opportunity for students to educate themselves about the current issues,” said Melissa Robbins, business senior and ASI chief of staff.

The event will start off with the Cal Poly Debate Team in Chumash Auditorium from 11 p.m. to noon on Wednesday. Two members of the team, computer engineering senior Rohen Peterson and aerospace engineering sophomore Dominic Surano will debate some hot local topics including Measure J, the Dalidio Project.

“Everyone is really excited to get recognized,” communication studies senior Kristy Malm said. “This format is very different from how we compete usually though.”

That day, there will be the first club fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clubs from all over campus will be in the University Union Plaza for the event.

“There will be all kinds of clubs there,” Robbins said. “We are bringing in as many that will appeal to many different students and want to support and educate students.”

From 1 to 2 p.m. the same day, the congressional candidates will speak about their positions in Chumash Auditorium. Rep. Lois Capps and Victor Tognazzini will each give speeches separately and interact with the students.

Thursday will begin with the second club fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UU Plaza. The event will kick off with a performance by Andrew Heringer. The clubs might be slightly different.

From noon to 1 p.m. that day, there will be a Measure J debate in San Luis Lounge. There will be two people from each side and it will be a debate forum, ASI President Todd Maki said. Ernie Dalidio and Victor Montgomery will be on the pro side and Alan Thomas and Allen Settle will represent the con argument, Maki said.

“The more into it they get, the more interesting it will be,” he said.

Then, from 1 to 2 p.m. in San Luis Lounge, all the mayoral candidates will debate. Dave Romero, John Ewan, Christine Mulholland and Don Hedrick will debate and interact with the students.

Romero, the current mayor, says it’s a little late to do this, but it is still a good thing. “I am very happy to be going,” he said. “A lot of people have already voted absentee, but it’s good for those that haven’t.”

Mulholland said as long as it raises awareness, it’s worth it. “Civics is not taught strongly enough from a young age here,” she said. “It is just important to know that local politics transcend parties. What matters are the issues in the area.”

The event finale will be at Farmers’ Market. A small amount of clubs will be set up downtown on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. to raise awareness about their clubs.

A big event of the night is putting puzzle pieces together. The pieces are about 2 feet by 2 feet, Maki said. “Each club gets a piece to paint and then we put them all together to say that though we are all different, but we are still together.”

Last year’s ASI president, Tyler Middlestadt, created the whole puzzle idea when the entire event was born, Maki said.

Both the Cal Poly Democrats and the Cal Poly College Republicans will be attending all three club events.

“I’m living in a different world, so I don’t see how well the event is getting known,” said Christina Chiappe, president of the Cal Poly College Republicans. “It’s good that ASI is making the effort to promote voter knowledge, but I hope they put in the effort to advertise the event.”

Zach Austin, president of the Cal Poly Democrats, says the whole event is a great idea. “The debates are a great opportunity for students to meet the candidates and hear what they have to say. It’s really good for opening discussion,” he said.

The event will happen once a quarter this year and each will have a different theme. Winter quarter will be Sustainability and Diversity like last year, and spring quarter will be Science and Technology, Maki said.

“Students are the most under-represented voters,” Robbins said. “This event promotes education and will hopefully help raise the number of student voters.”

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