Changing our future

OSIL makes an initiative to encourage more students at SPU to vote.

Isabella Tranello, Staff Reporter

OSIL wants to encourage as many students as possible to vote this year. Handing out voting pins, this sign, and a thermometer to track the number of student votes are some of the ways they hope to motivate students. (Davery Bettger)

Whether it’s voting in person or in the mail, people experience a wide range of emotions when they fill the bubbles in next to their candidate of choice and cast their vote.

For many students at Seattle Pacific University, this is the first year they have been able to cast their own vote in the presidential election. This year’s presidential election is pivotal for this generation and will define what the world will look like for them as they grow into adulthood.

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (OSIL) has been using its social media platforms to promote and motivate students to vote in the upcoming election. Campus Program Coordinator for OSIL Katie Thomas runs the majority of the programming and initiatives for voting, as well as the social media involved.

OSIL has been primarily using social media to promote and educate voting registration for SPU students, as well as encouragement to vote in the general election this fall!” Thomas said.

OSIL is trying to push more students to vote by creating a very specific and centralized goal for the number of students they hope will vote.

“We have a goal of 1300 undergraduate SPU students voting this fall in the general election, which is 50% of the student body,” Thomas said. “Believe it or not, this is actually a high goal, but historically student voting numbers on college campuses have been very low.”

Encouraging students to participate is easier through a platform that was originally designed to keep people engaged with each other. Thomas believes students will encourage other students to vote simply by seeing others vote and posting about it. 

The OSIL Instagram reposts photos almost everyday of posts that they have been tagged in from their students. 

 “The SPU community is mighty and has been stretched with the season we are in with COVID. Students, staff, and faculty are all eager to be together in some way, and I think SPU students seeing photos of their peers voting is an encouragement that the SPU community is still active and strong!” Thomas said. 

OSIL is tracking the amount of student voters in the Student Union Building. Students may send in pictures of them voting to get a spot on the wall and fill up the meter to OSIL’s goal of 1300 students. (Davery Bettger)

Throughout fall quarter, OSIL has even been giving out goodies, such as voting themed pins and masks through contests on Instagram and for those who have registered to vote recently to celebrate their contributions and involvement. Along with having small giveaways, they are planning fun activities for those who vote in the coming weeks.

“Currently, we have the sign in the loop to take pictures with, and a collage of photos in the SUB of SPU students voting. We will also be bringing the boba truck to campus on November 2nd,” Thomas said.

Thomas believes that the low number of 1300 needs to improve and that this election is essential for students to take part in; it is their time to change the future.

“Simply put, SPU students should care about voting because it directly impacts their future. Those who are eligible can make a direct impact by submitting a ballot and voting for the issues at hand. We want students to create this habit while they are at SPU and incorporate it into their life!”

Based on Thomas’ information, OSIL is seemingly doing a good job at engaging students around campus in regards to voting, which is evident by the way some students are reacting to their efforts.

Sophomore cellular and molecular biology major Rebecca Hodges is very excited to enjoy the services provided by OSIL, including the free boba truck on election week, and she believes they are doing a pretty good job at getting the message about voting out to students.

She believes, however, that they need to try and reach some students outside of social media.

“I believe they have provided good resources for voting. Although not everyone has social media so I think sending out emails and keeping things posted on SPU’s website would be a huge advantage,” said Hodges through an email. “However, my roommate and I are planning to get the boba! I think having incentives is great to encourage voting.”

Hodges also knows that this year’s election is crucial and is aware that it is everyone’s duty to vote for a chance to change the world not only for herself but others too.

“I’m voting because not only is it my civic duty, but it’s so important to vote. Your vote is your voice and you are voting to make decisions for not only yourself, but for the lives of those around you.” Hodges said.

The outcome of this election will affect the future of current and upcoming generations, whether for better or for worse.Thomas urges anyone who is eligible to vote as soon as possible.

“SPU! This is your future! Call, text, post, share, write out all the information you can to get your friends and family registered and turn their ballots in!” Thomas said.