High-profile election season draws participation from college students

Tammie Tamara

Tammie TamaraSection Editor

For a number of college students, Nov. 5 is more than just another Tuesday. In fact, some students dedicate large amounts of their time toward the campaign effort, despite the fact that the 18 to 24 age-group is labeled as apathetic.

“I think most college students care about issues that are fairly close to home,” sophomore physics major Sara Landau said, citing the Third B Tax issue as one example.

Landau, president of the College Democrats, can easily explain why college students should care about the campaign.

“In general, about one in five people between 18 and 24 vote. Not a lot of people vote in our age group, so politicians don’t listen to us,” she said. “If we get out and vote, they’ll start thinking about things like tuition costs and subsidizing education.”

Landau expects this particular election to elicit more of a response on campus than is the norm.

“I think this one will bring out a lot more than usual because it’s so high profile, which is great,” she said.

Personally, Landau has been involved in several aspects of campaigning, including making calls, canvassing door to door and hanging posters.

Helping with the campaign, however, is not the main focus of the College Democrats. “We last beyond the campaign,” she said. “We always have voter registration tables, and last year we had a women in politics forum.”

College students can certainly get involved in the campaign off-campus as well as on. Tracy Koskan, a graduate of the School of Mines and Technology, is the regional field director for the Brookings Republican organization, South Dakota Victory. He works with people from all over the community, including college students.

“We have a lot of volunteers all over in the area that help out,” he said. “There have been a lot more, especially since school has started.”

He directs volunteers to stuffing envelopes and making calls.

For Koskan, the campaign is his focus for the next 50-plus days. “It’s definitely more than a 9-to-5 job,” he said. “We put in some very, very long days and it’s going to get longer and longer as the election comes closer.”

Though he’s rooting for John Thune, Koskan says the campaign’s end will be a let down no matter who wins. “It’s still depressing, taking down all the posters,” he said. However, “We’ll look back and we won’t regret a single thing we did.”