By Joe Ferguson
UA Voter Coalition founder
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 2, 2004
A UA student is reaching out to clubs on campus in hopes of getting as many as possible to help him increase voter participation among students.
Cole Adamson, an economics senior, said he is dismayed by the low national average of students taking part in the electoral process.
This dismal turnout was the primary reason Adamson founded University of Arizona Voter Coalition, he said.
The coalition aims to increase the student vote, by encouraging all of the clubs on campus to work together in this effort.
"Our main focus is to educate (students) and to get them to vote," Adamson said.
To start the coalition, Adamson said he e-mailed all of the clubs on last year's Associated Students of the University of Arizona club list, which he estimated to be about 500.
"A lot of clubs already want to get the vote out," Adamson said. "We want to target more students, get more of a response" by reaching out to all clubs.
Adamson said he has received e-mails from some clubs, confirming they would attend the meeting.
The first meeting of the coalition will be tonight at 7 in the Presidio Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. The meeting will focus on planning future events to get students excited about the upcoming election.
While Adamson said the coalition will encourage students to have debates about issues on the ballot, he said the coalition will not back particular candidates.
"It's important to know we are not partisan, that everyone is welcome," Adamson said.
He added that while the coalition is interested in clubs because they draw a lot of people, individuals can volunteer too.
Nationally, Adamson said, there are 28 million 18 to 25-year-olds eligible to vote.
"In the last election, only one in four students voted," Adamson said.
Alicia Cybulski, President of the UA Young Democrats, said the UAYDs welcome any help to increase student voting.
"Getting the vote out is so critical," Cybulski said.
Adamson was a member of Silver Wings, the air force leadership club, and Inter Varsity, a Christian club on campus, but that he has put aside involvement in those this semester to organize the coalition.
He is also an intern at EnviroCitizen, a non-profit organization helping him market and promote the coalition.
"One of their missions is to get young people to vote and be aware of issues," Adamson said. "They are helping get it all started and getting it rolling."
Students interested in voting in the November elections must register by Oct. 5.
- Andrea Kelly contributed to this report.