It’s Okay to Push the Big Red Button.

It’s that time of year. That time of year when signs start cropping up on lawns, when your friends are suddenly more opinionated than you thought, and you can’t watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother without terrible Michigan commercials.

It’s election season.

For me, the Michigan commercials are slightly baffling; I live in Indiana and couldn’t tell you who the governor in Michigan currently is. My father, however, has been emailing me and telling me who’s running for what in Indiana and who I should vote for.

I voted in Indiana on Friday October 19th for the first time. But for those of us who didn’t get the opportunity to vote early over fall break, there’s always absentee ballots.

More than half of Alma’s campus is first time voters. There are movements such as Rock the Vote to help us register and let us know that it’s important that we, as young Americans, push that red button on November 6th. But what’s Alma doing to make sure that we vote?

During Orientation Week there was voting registration going on in the Rotunda. I was planning on going to register for my absentee ballot, but of course, like many Alma students, I had other places to be. I missed this rather important event.

When touring Mitchell Hall looking for a friend to help me with hanging up posters, I came across a bunch of posters that were covered in college student myths. One such myth was “The candidates don’t care about me.”

No, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney probably don’t know your name and probably can’t feel the pain of your genetics fruit fly lab, but they do care about the youth of America and they’d like to you to vote. Professors and some groups on campus would like you to vote, too.

Alma has a Democrats Club, and you can probably guess that where there’s a Democrats club, there’s a Republican’s Club. They even have neat t-shirts, which is always a plus when joining a club. Both clubs are active on and off campus, volunteering in the city of Alma to get students and regular people that actually live in town involved in the election process.

The Model UN house, always a political hotspot, has been serving free food during the debates on television. I wish I had known about that during the last debate because I watched it alone in my room while stuffing my face with popcorn.

There have also been election movies put on in SAC, usually 113, about voting and how you as an Alma College student can be a part of the election process. If you want to catch a movie, find a poster somewhere in SAC; they’re everywhere. And don’t be afraid to talk to a political science professor. The only thing you have to fear is a prolonged political discussion.

If you’re like me and you’re a first time voter, it’s not as scary as it sounds. When I went to vote on Friday on who would lead our great country, I simply showed my driver’s license, signed a few papers, and was taken to a voting machine. There was even a nice lady there to explain all the buttons to me. When I was all finished, I got to click a big red button that lit up and made noise.

If you don’t have a reason to vote, pushing that button should be a reason, because it’s a really cool button.

And trust me, you won’t be the only person on campus involved in politics. If politics is your weird hobby, even if it’s only during election season, you’re not alone. During each debate I sit on Twitter and I watch Alma students following and tweeting about the debate faster than I can type. I guarantee there’s someone on campus who would LOVE to talk politics with you and is just as happy that you’re interested in voting as they are.

There’s a lot you can do on campus to get involved in politics, or to even just find out about politics a little more to form your opinion. The Model UN house has free food and nice people living in it, so that’s always a plus if you find yourself in the small housing area. The Democrat and Republican clubs are always looking for new members and new volunteers to help get the word out, and if you’re a libertarian, you can always talk to Student Congress about starting a club. If we had a Squirrel Club at one point, I’m sure there’s room for Alma College Libertarians.

Alma wants you to get involved and vote. What will you do? And who will you vote for on November 6th?

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