Campaign Encourages UT Students to Become Politically Savvy

KNOXVILLE — This year, the traditional fall colors are punctuated with red, white and blue. It’s election time in Tennessee.

The University of Tennessee is doing its part to raise awareness campuswide with “Vote — It’s Your Future,” a campaign to register students, faculty and staff to vote and to educate them about the issues. This political “boot camp” is being sponsored by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Baker Scholars, the Innovative Technology Center, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the Student Government Association, the United Residence Hall Council and UT Libraries.

Voter registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2-5 at Humanities Plaza. Additional locations are Panhellenic Building, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and University Plaza, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 4. The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election is Oct. 7.

“The point is not only to register students, faculty and staff to vote, but also to educate them so they can make well-informed decisions when it is time to vote,” said Nissa Dahlin-Brown, assistant director for the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. “This is a collaborative effort.”

A variety of other activities will be held to educate students about making informed voting decisions. Among them:

• On Tuesday, Oct. 3, students are invited to watch the televised gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. in North Carrick Hall lobby or Strong Hall lobby. Voter registration will be available then, too. Students also are invited to attend the debate, live, at West High School.

• On Wednesday, Oct. 4, members of the campus community will have the opportunity to voice their opinion on the upcoming election in old-fashioned soapbox style during “Speak Out.” The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the front plaza of the University Center. Speakers will have two minutes on the soapbox to talk about the election, candidates and issues. Political Science Professor Mike Fitzgerald will moderate. If it rains, Speak Out will be held in Brown Lounge.

• Beginning Thursday, Oct. 5, “Election 2006,” a seminar taught by UT Librarian Jane Row, will focus on providing information on mid-term elections, will be held in Hodges Library, room 128. The seminar will be repeated from 1 to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. Oct. 18.

• College students are encouraged to go online to www.bakercenter.utk.edu and take the two-minute “College Student Survey.”

• Students and others are encouraged to learn more about the candidates, issues, Political Action Committees, and other election matters at http://vote.tennessee.edu and http://www.lib.utk.edu/refs/polsci/elections/

• An ongoing research project is being conducted by UT political science professors John Scheb and Mike Fitzgerald and Nissa Dahlin-Brown of the Baker Center. The survey, being done in UT political science classes and at other area colleges, looks at what issues interest college students and what makes students more likely to vote or be civically active. The survey results will be published on the Baker Center Web site.

Early voting at the University Center for all Knox County voters will be Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Contacts:
Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu
Alan Lowe, (865) 974-8515, alowe4@tennessee.edu