Election Inspires Campus Activities

The November elections brought lots of buzz to Pennsylvania College of Technology's active campus.

Among activities:

  • Voter registration forms were available in the Madigan Library during Constitution Week, Sept. 15-19, and were accepted at the Bush Campus Center Information Desk through the state registration deadline.
  • More than 70 students watched the final presidential debate together Oct. 15 at a viewing party in Penn's Inn. The party was cosponsored by Student Activities, the Student Government Association and the Residence Hall Association. "It was a great turnout!" said Shadra D. Smith, assistant director for student activities, student services.
  • On Oct. 28, the Madigan Library hosted a 'Talk the Vote' roundtable to urge civility and a respect for diversity in personal and political discourse.

    "There are advantages to interacting with those who disagree with us," said Matthew David, assistant director of library services, who organized and moderated the event. "The alternate view can help us clarify our own views, which is good, but there is always the potential we can change our minds when appropriately persuaded. The question is, 'How?' How do we talk with one another about something so personal without tearing each other limb from limb?"

    Panelists were Ryan D. Beardsley, who has been involved with the national Rock the Vote campaign; Sandra Lakey, associate professor of speech communication/composition at the college; Donald Noviello, a tutor and part-time faculty member in history/sociology/political science; Robert O. Rolley Jr., interim publisher of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette; and City Councilman Jonathan Williamson, chair of the Lycoming College political science department.

    The panelists encouraged students to discuss their views with passion, but to do so with respect and to respond to those who disagree with logic and evidence and reasoning, and to use critical thinking when listening to candidates.
  • A group of mass media communications students encouraged fellow young adults to register and head to the polls on Election Day via a radio program that aired on WPTC, the college's radio station, throughout the fall. "Take a Stand: The Importance of the Youth Vote," was produced by students Beardsley, Stephanie A. Shutter and Thadeus M. Waters as part of a Radio Programming and Management class taught by Brad L. Nason, associate professor of mass communications.

    "The show was created because of the importance of the 2008 presidential election," Beardsley said. "We thought it necessary to do our part to encourage the youth vote on the Penn College campus and around Williamsport. In the past, the youth (ages of 18 to 29) has been the smallest turnout on Election Day, so the show was designed to focus on the importance of the youth vote, and getting those who fall into that category registered and out to the polls on the Election Day."

    The show gained positive feedback from students, faculty and Williamsport residents who listened to the show, during which the students interviewed those from local librarian David to a representative of the national organization Rock the Vote.

    "The biggest eye-opener for me came on Election Day itself, when we learned that the youth voter turnout may have been the highest since the late 1960s," Beardsley said. "I'm proud of my fellow generation for that, and like to think that maybe we contributed a small fraction to that."