By Anthea Dennis
Rock the Vote Bus Stops at BSU
By Anthea Dennis
Bowie State University students filled the promenade Sept. 13 to make their voices heard in this year’s upcoming elections. Featured in USA Today, Rock the Vote’s tour bus made a stop at BSU, and made a difference. For four hours, students were able to register to vote as they enjoyed the entertainment of a live band and live performances by Tabi Bonney, Seth Glier, Vacationer, and the Grammy Award winning poet, J.Ivy.
Rock the Vote’s tour bus is designed to fully amplify voter registration and educate the youth on some of the restrictions they may face in some states due to changes in election laws since the 2008 elections. Their main goal is to get over 1.5 million new registered voters. With launching their “WE WILL” campaign, RTV not only assists the youth with getting registered to vote, but also gets them to PLEDGE to vote.
“Registering to vote is one thing, but actually pledging to vote is showing that you are making the commitment to go out and make a difference,” said Mercedes Mitchell, an advertising design major at Bowie State.
Tiffany Kelly, volunteer from the GrapeVine Group and a graduate of Saint Augustine University in North Carolina, explained that the tour wants to spread awareness of the election and its importance. “We’re letting students know that the election is coming and we’re trying to get as many people to vote as possible,” she said.
Michelle Clark, the tour bus manager, further explained that the purpose of the tour is not to influence who to vote for, but why they should vote. “RTV is not affiliated with any political party,” Clark said. “We just want to make sure people understand that today’s youth is an entire generation of people who can really make a difference.”
The bus was equipped with recording booths where students could record a 30-second spot on their thoughts about the upcoming November elections. Students could select to answer questions such as “Who are you voting for and why?” in an effort to get them to think critically about candidates represent the two major political parties.
Along with members of the Student Government Association volunteering, the entire student body was influenced to contribute more as well. “We saw more volunteers today than ever and were so psyched to see how involved everyone on campus was,” Clark said, adding that the crowd at Bowie State was the largest that RTV’s road trip has seen to date.