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Political awareness week activities snuffed out

Some events canceled by Student Government Association; disappoints campus democrat, republican leaders

Concordia hosted Political Awareness Week on campus Oct. 13-17, though few students may have known. Originally, the week was supposed to be a nonpartisan attempt at raising students’ political involvement in time for elections on Nov. 4. However, some lack of communication led to an unfruitful event.

The tentative plan for the week included tabling to register students to vote, conversation about the importance of political involvement, a student debate, political speakers and a political slam poetry session.

The Student Government Association originally scheduled Political Awareness Week for Oct. 27 but rescheduled for the week of Oct. 13 on request from Senior Cate Bruns of Campus Democrats to coincide with students’ last opportunity to preregister for the election.

Student Government’s Program and Events Coordinator Adam Domitz began planning the week last April, and Bruns joined the effort in July.

The Campus Republicans became involved in Sept. when Nate LaCombe, president of the Campus Republicans was brought up to speed. Campus Entertainment Commission was also involved in sponsoring and funding.

As students may remember, that week held most of the mid-semester exams. Expecting a low attendance rate for any events held later in the week, SGA decided not to hold events Wed.-Fri. of that week.

“We figured people would be studying Wednesday; some people would even leave Thursday,” Domitz said. “We were a little bit concerned about investing resources when the turnout would not be as high as it has been in the past.”

Both Bruns and LaCombe were disappointed by this change of plans but understood the logic behind the decision. LaCombe did suggest the week be moved back to its original date, hoping a full week would create more student discussion on the topic.

“It’s more important for people to vote than it is for them to early register,” LaCombe said. “We just want people to vote.”

SGA refused to change the date back, claiming they would no longer be able to support it the events.

LaCombe feels the Political Awareness Week couldn’t adequately aware Concordia students.

“Political awareness week (wasn’t) political awareness week,” LaCombe said. “First of all, it’s political awareness ‘two days,’ second of all, nobody’s aware. That’s a failure. That’s not okay.”

As the Political Awareness Week approached, Both LaCombe and Bruns said that they repeatedly tried to get in touch with the program and events committee but rarely received responses which lead to a great deal of confusion.

“When you’re planning an event, the best thing you can do is communicate to the other people involved,” LaCombe said.

Because of the lack of communication, LaCombe made the decision for the Campus Republicans to back out of the debate the day before it was set to occur due to the fact that his debaters had an inadequate amount of time to prepare.

“(LaCombe) and I discussed his move and we were both on the same page,” Bruns said. She agreed that her debaters were not prepared either and that the lack of communication was very disappointing.

Bruns and LaCombe also said there was very little publicity for the events. According to Bruns, the posters advertising the slam poet did not go up until the day of the event, and the debate was likewise not publicized until the week of the event.

This was the first attempt at hosting a Political Awareness Week on Concordia’s Campus in quite a few years, and Concordia’s political parties hope for more success in future years.

“I don’t care who you vote for,” LaCombe said. “I want Concordia to boast about being a politically involved campus that votes.”

One Comment

  1. […] hat on: joining a Political Awareness Week debate team. As you may know, this event never happened. The Concordian piece from last week on the cancellation of Political Awareness Week hits some great notes. As someone involved in all parties concerned in this story – including the […]

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