By: Emily Thompson; Junior, Mercer University
In 2004 at eight-years-old, I remember watching the Bush-Cheney/Kerry-Edwards election on the small television in my mom’s room in our Texas home. Although I lacked a complete understanding of the Electoral College, I was excitedly coloring in the red states and the blue states on my printout map. I begged my mom to let me stay up later and later as the night went on. That passion has continued through many election cycles. I have been fortunate enough to volunteer and work for several campaigns over the past several years.
This year, though, I am so excited to be able to cast my ballot for my first presidential election. Because I have grown up with such a love for our country and the political sphere, I hope to inspire other students to become involved as well. The awesome thing about politics is that there is something there for everyone. No matter what your interests are, politics affect it in one way or another. I want students to realize this and let their voices be heard.
Mobilize Mercer was born when 6 students and faculty members at Mercer had some ideas that were fueled by passion. We were sitting together in the Campus Life Conference room and thought of all that we could do to push political engagement and awareness in this upcoming election.
It started small. We had a gummy bear poll during primary season, where students put a gummy bear in their candidate’s jar to signify their support. Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio were the victors by a long shot. When neither of them received their party’s nomination, students were disappointed. However, this motivated us to push students to vote even more.
This semester, we have been able to host debate watch parties, voter registration drives, and so much more! We have been able to be featured on local news stations, which has been able to push our cause even further. We are hoping for a victory this November when SoCon Votes ends. However, regardless of the outcome, we have been able to accomplish our overarching goal. We have been able to invite students to vote in their first presidential election. Mercer students are now more aware and engaged in the political process. It’s been an incredible thing to see.