RICHMOND – Hundreds of Virginia Commonwealth University students gathered on Super Tuesday to participate in a fun-filled afternoon that included live music, games, food and information about today’s presidential primary election.
The festival, hosted by VCU’s political science department, featured a C-SPAN campaign bus that gave students a chance to familiarize themselves with resources the news network provides to its viewers.
“C-SPAN is a resource that students can use in the classroom and others can use while at home when researching candidates without bias. We want to let people know that C-SPAN is funded by the cable industry. A lot of people think since we are covering the government that we are funded by the government,” said Sara Zou, marketing representative for C-SPAN.
Other attractions at the festival included an information booth where students could register to vote and find their polling station as well as receive information on all the candidates in this year’s presidential race.
“The goal of this event is to remind students that there is an election happening today. Most students know that there is a presidential primary, but not all of them know that Virginia is voting today,” said Dr. Alexandra Reckendorf, associate chair of the political science department.
At the fair, political advocacy groups provided pamphlets with information about their candidates. The groups gave away promotional items to supporters and to voters still on the fence.
“We are trying to tell people here that some of us conservatives can be middle of the aisle, and we aren’t as radical as people seem to make us,” said Aleks Arquines, a member of College Republicans at VCU.
Another organization, Students for Bernie at VCU, offered free rides to various poll locations to students without transportation.
Many of the festival’s attendees are voting for the first time today and look forward to doing so.
“I’m excited that my voice will be heard with my vote. We have a lot of underrepresented Americans living in poverty that don’t have access to healthcare; I think that’s a really big issue,” said pre-med student Brett Davie.
“Some people can’t afford to get sick. Getting sick for many has a domino effect where you can’t afford treatment, which turns into missing work, which turns into not having money and so on.”
Students expressed interest in a range of issues, from the environment to racial and gender equality.
“I voted this morning. It was really quick; the lines weren’t long,” biology major Sarah Yeary said. “I’m really focused on who’s going to push America forward. I feel like we should be pushing for equality for women for all races. I think that’s a big issue, and I voted for someone who I feel will drive America forward.”