In the 2004 United States presidential election, P. Diddy decided he would launch a voter-awareness campaign. Armed with the slogan, “Vote or Die” on every T-shirt he could get his hands on, Diddy attempted to raise the number of young voters by making voting “sexy.”
Now, I’m no Diddy. I’m not going to try to make you believe voting is sexy, but Diddy did have a point: Voting is important.
This week, the FGCU student government will be campaigning all over campus and social media for your vote. You will be bombarded by all three parties, all offering you free things and selling lofty campaign promises.
First and foremost, Student Government actually does decide how to spend a large portion of your tuition money. Let me repeat that: Other students are deciding what to do with your money. If someone else was going to take your wallet and spend its contents on your behalf, wouldn’t you want a say about who it is?
Let’s look at this year’s barbershop controversy. In case you weren’t already aware, current student body president, Juan Cubillo, brought a mobile barbershop to campus for student use. Because it did not fit the needs for a majority of students, many were concerned that their money was being put towards services that did not apply to them.
Cubillo promised that not a single drop of student funds would go to funding the barbershop and that the service would operate strictly from its own profits. Months later, it was discovered that in fact $1,600 of student money was going toward the business’ rented space.
The barbershop discontinued its visits from campus.
In last year’s election, FGCU students voted Cubillo into office. He was voted in by a margin of just 160 votes, and we all as Florida voters know only a few votes can make a big difference in a presidential election. Whether it was for his platform or for the free T-shirts, and whether or not you see his term as student body president this year as a success, this is who the student body chose.
And now it’s time to pick again.
Sure, this week will be filled with free T-shirts, free food and big talk, but don’t let it sway your vote.
In the end, we’re preparing for the real world. Call it your “responsibility as an American citizen,” call it “a threat from P. Diddy” or call it “a reason you can’t complain about the government.” Whatever you call it, vote. This is your chance to have your opinion heard. Make it heard.
Students, I urge you to do a little research, listen to every candidate’s platform and educate yourselves. Don’t just give away your vote to the first person who hands you a free T-shirt.
Kelli Krebs is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in digital media design. She enjoys sailing, publishing her opinions, and saving the Florida Panther.