The voter advocacy organization TX Votes wants to drive more STEM students to the polls next election cycle, organization members said in their first meeting of the semester Thursday.
“We have been focusing a lot on STEM students in the last year because our numbers show that STEM students vote at lower rates than everyone else on campus,” TX Votes vice president Zach Price said.
Price, a government junior, said TX Votes plans to work on closing this gap by beginning a speaker series tailored toward STEM students this semester.
The approximately 30 students in attendance planned events and activities aimed to encourage students to become more politically involved, such as meet and greets with elected officials. This has proven exceptionally hard outside of an election year, Price said.
“We are all busy, and nobody wants to tune in to politics all the time,” Price said. “So making it about civic engagement and the impact you can have outside of the election cycle motivates people.”
The club organizes a recurring event called “Meet Your Elected Official Forum” so students can directly speak with their representatives. At the meeting, current members expressed their enjoyment in the forums.
However, Price said TX Votes’ main priority is registering people to vote, and although the next election won’t be for two years, that work never stops.
TX Votes member Mason Mazurek said the organization hopes to lessen the burden students bear to register to vote.
“Half the battle is getting them registered, and the other half is having them show up,” management information systems sophomore Mazurek said.
Mazurek said forming your own opinions, educating yourself and finding like-minded people to go out and make a difference with is the best way to spark political activism on campus.
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“TX Votes’ main goal is that, if you are a student, you should be voting,” government sophomore Ava Said said.
In addition to meetings with elected officials, TX Votes also hosts an annual Civics Formal, which recognizes people from around campus who make voting and civic engagement possible.
TX Votes is also brainstorming the creation of a civic engagement education series to benefit students.
The organization’s meetings are open to all students and are held every other Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Belo Center for New Media.