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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Shockers Vote Coalition aims to educate students on voting, local candidates

Allison Campbell
The Shockers Vote Coalition aims to encourage students to vote and learn more about local candidates through its fall events and voter registration drives. In the past, they have distributed pins, stickers and informational flyers to the Wichita community.

The Shockers Vote Coalition plans to host several events this fall semester to encourage students to vote and learn more about local candidates.

Loren Belew, the civic engagement coordinator at Student Engagement, Advocacy and Leadership, said the coalition hoped to do something different. Some events this semester include voter registration drives with food and games, forums with mayoral and school board candidates and an election day party.

Belew said her goal is to interest students to learn more about voting and politics during a polarized political climate.

“I’ve always loved politics, and right now, I watch the news, and I’m just like, ‘This is dreadful,’” Belew said. “(A student) told me, you know, ‘What about focusing on the causes or issues?’ 

“Maybe (students) don’t see that those causes and issues that they care about are directly affected by who they vote for.”

Belew said both Lily Wu and Brandon Whipple have registered for the mayoral candidate forum on Oct. 18, while four out of the six school board candidates have registered for their respective forum on Oct. 25. Belew said students can submit questions in advance.

“We wanted to try something different and kind of give students a chance to meet their candidates and have sort of face-to-face time to ask them questions,” Belew said.

The Shockers Vote Coalition kicked off their voter registration drive on Tuesday in Shocker Hall. The organization plans to offer three more drives on Sept. 13 and 18 and Oct. 9, including one in Wallace Hall on Sept. 13 to target engineering students.

 According to Belew, some of lowest voter turnout among Wichita State students are engineering, business and law enforcement training students. While Belew noted that some engineering students may not be able to vote in Wichita, she hoped the Wallace Hall voter registration drive would be a learning opportunity. 

“We also wanted to do something that kind of engaged (engineering students) or gave them an opportunity to learn about our voting process and sort of how to do things here,” Belew said.

For students who lack transportation off campus, Belew noted that there will be an on-campus voting location, which was at the Marcus Welcome Center in the past.

 Belew also discussed the TurboVote App, where students can register to vote, request an advanced ballot and sign up for election reminders. Students from any location can make use of the app, which Belew said also helps the Shocker Vote Coalition track student voter engagement.

Belew said that this election will provide opportunities for students to learn about local elections.

“Some of the mayoral candidates have some pretty different views that affect everybody very closely,” Belew said. “There’s a lot to learn, lots of areas of growth.”

While Belew said she would love for future coalition events to be more student-led, they currently rely on volunteers. Students interested in volunteering at events can sign up at VolunteerICT or on the coalition’s Google spreadsheet

Shockers Vote Coalition’s next meeting on Sept. 20 from 12-1 p.m. in the SEAL Conference Room. For more information on the organization and their upcoming events, go to their website.

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About the Contributors
Courtney Brown, Investigative News Editor
Courtney Brown is the investigative news editor for The Sunflower. Brown previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor.
Allison Campbell, News Editor
Allison Campbell is the news editor for The Sunflower. A South African native, Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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