Members of the Union College community will have two opportunities to cast a ballot next week.
On Tuesday, they can vote in the real election for president, and on Wednesday, they can vote in a mock election for president.
All term long, students in Zoe Oxley’s electoral politics class have participated in a simulated presidential election.
“The simulated election is a component of the course every time I each it,” said Oxley, an associate professor of political science and department chair. “It’s a much more thorough way for students to understand how elections run if they actually have to engage in it.”
This term, there are three campaign teams of six students each. One team has an individual portraying Barack Obama, while the other two have individuals in the roles of John McCain and Michael Bloomberg. Each group also has a campaign manager and press secretary, while other students in the class are journalists and election commissioners.
All their hard work will culminate in a final mock debate and election Wednesday,Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. in the Reamer Campus Center auditorium. Anyone who comes to the debate, which will last about an hour, can cast a fictitious ballot for their favorite mock presidential candidate.
There are enough people sporting green T-shirts on the Union College campus today that it seems like spring again (well, almost). The sage-colored shirts, though, are actually part of Visibility Day.
The garments feature the coexist emblem, which spells coexist using symbols from various faiths, and a personal statement from the wearer.
“The goal is to show all the religious and spiritual diversity around campus,” said Ariel Sincoff-Yedid ’09, chair of Union’s Multi-Faith Council. “We spray-painted the coexist symbol on the back of the T-shirts to give them a unifying symbol.”
“And then, on the front, we asked everyone to write their own religious or spiritual identification,” she continued. “I saw one that said, ‘I’m an Islamic Christian,’ because the woman wearing it had been raised in both traditions.”
Altogether, Sincoff-Yedid estimated that 120 students, faculty members and administrators are wearing T-shirts today.
Visibility Day will conclude with a discussion at Breazzano House this evening. Participants will talk about what it means to be an individual within a religious or spiritual community, and a community at large.
In retrospect, the title of Mike Huckabee’s speech at Union last spring probably said it all: “The Pursuit of the Presidency and the Perfectly Insane American Process.”
As the most expensive, protracted and debated presidential race in U.S. history comes to a close, here’s a recap of how it has energized campus:
The election hoopla began with Huckabee, who’d just dropped out of the presidential Republican primary. His visit last April, courtesy of Speakers Forum, included a talk to more than 900 in Memorial Chapel and an hour of informal chatting. And before Sarah Palin became a household name, he addressed the possibility of being named Sen. John McCain’s running mate.
On the other side of the political spectrum, noted liberal blogger Joshua Micah Marshall was a highlight of orientation weekend for members of the Class of 2012. Over the summer, the first-years had delved into the life stories of both contenders, reading Sen. Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” and McCain’s “Faith of My Fathers.”
In September, Alan Wolfe, head of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, reflected on the heightened role religion has played in this year’s race in a talk at the Nott.
With questions about the race on everyone’s mind, faculty members went on local radio to answer questions from the public. Lending their expertise to WAMC’s Presidential Election Round Table on Vox Pop the past two weeks were David Cotter (Sociology), Tomas Dvorak (Economics), Ashraf Ghaly (Engineering), Thomas Lobe (Political Science) and Zoe Oxley (Political Science).
On campus, Oxley’s Electoral Politics class is running a mock election, with students playing the roles of candidates, campaign staffers, journalists and other key players in the process. The simulation ends with a public debate and election Wednesday, Nov. 5.
In Union’s interdisciplinary course, Election 2008, students have been learning about everything from the candidates’ environmental policies to the role of the media. All classes are open to the public. Still to come: talks by Chris Chabris on psychology and the neuroscience of political decision making (Nov. 5) and William Zwicker on voting systems (Nov. 10), and a campaign strategy retrospective analysis by Clifford Brown (Nov. 12). There'll be a recap and review, with final thoughts and discussion (Nov. 17), led by Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Joshua Hart.
Meanwhile, many Minerva Houses are gearing up for election night. An event at Beuth House, co-sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha, will feature lots of food and conversation, while Blue House is hosting “Uncle Sam Wants U in Blue.”
“We’ll be watching the election night coverage, cheering and moaning as the results are announced,” said Shelton Schmidt, Blue House faculty advisor. “We’re thinking of serving apple pie. All are welcome.”
And it’s not too late to enter the Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society) election prediction contest; the prize is $50. Contestants must guess not only who the new president will be, but the Electoral College outcome and how many seats each party will have in the Senate after Election Day. To participate, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3.
There are enough people sporting green T-shirts on the Union College campus today that it seems like spring again (well, almost). In fact, the sage-colored shirts are worn for a different reason: They are part of Visibility Day.
The shirts feature the official “coexist” emblem, which spells the word using symbols from various faiths, and they also include a personal statement from the wearer.
“The goal is to show all the religious and spiritual diversity around campus,” said Ariel Sincoff-Yedid ’09, chair of Union’s Multi-Faith Council.
“We spray-painted the 'coexist' symbol on the back of the T-shirts to give them a unifying symbol. And then, on the front, we asked everyone to write their own religious or spiritual identification. I saw one that said, ‘I’m an Islamic Christian’ because the woman wearing it had been raised in both traditions.”
Sincoff-Yedid estimated that 120 students, faculty members and administrators are wearing the T-shirts.
Visibility Day concludes this evening at Breazzano House, where participants talk about what it means to be an individual within a religious or spiritual community, and a community at large.
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