Where there’s a sidewalk chalking, there’s a way

Nicole Stempak

Students campaign through Election Day

Credit: DKS Editors

Nate Watson, top, chalks in Risman Plaza. Deborah Young, bottom, volunteered to chalk and talk to students about voting because she said she thinks it is important for the Democratic Party to be in the White House. Caitlin Sirse | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

A cut out of Sen. Barack Obama greeted volunteers outside the Multi-Purpose Room in Oscar Ritchie Hall yesterday. The cut out wore a white T-shirt with a piece of paper reading ‘vote for Barack’ in red capital letters.

Inside, Obama pins and shirts were stacked on a table to the far right of the room. Clipboards and a red laptop covered with Obama stickers lay at another. A total of eight people were there at about 11 a.m.

That’s a good thing, one of the greeters from the Ohio Campaign for Change said. That means they are out on the campus.

College Democrats President Jared M. Matthews estimated the number of volunteers neared the target goal of 200. Many of the volunteers were members of College Democrats, Muslim Student Association and PRIDE!Kent.

Their mission: to get students to vote.

Matthews said the campus has been divided into various zones to ensure volunteers reach every angle of the campus.

Volunteers canvassed, made phone calls, observed polling locations, advertised, chalked, promoted the vote and just about anything that would “be effective for electing Barack Obama president,” he said.

Dylan Sellers, historian for Black United Students, spent the morning talking to students in Zone four, which included the area in front of Bowman Hall. He estimated about 85 percent of the more than 200 people he’s already spoken with voted or were on their way to vote.

“It’s pretty intense,” he said. “You just have a rapid flurry of people, and you have to talk to all of them at once – but it’s fun.”

Kat Rybski, secretary of PRIDE!Kent, was on her way at about noon to join other members at Zone 2, including Eastway Center.

She said she volunteered for Obama because she “needs to have a say in what happens.

“I know this sounds cheesy, but as a woman and a member of the LGBT community, what Obama stands for is important to me because he’s not actively going to fight against what rights we have,” she said. “It gives me hope that I’m going to be able to wake up on the fifth, knowing civil unions might not dissolve.”

BUS President Ashley Tolliver, who along with Sellers reserved the Multi-Purpose Room, said she is proud of the volunteers and the organizations that have united.

Few events have caused so many diverse groups to come together for a common cause, she said.

Sarah Swirsky, junior community health education major and member of College Democrats, spent about an hour and a half in Zone 1, between the University Library and, Student Center. She said the majority of students she and the other volunteers spoke with said they voted.

“I think they voted because they’re really tired of an administration that doesn’t listen to them or support their ideals (as college students),” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].