Having the right to vote is an action that lets every American citizen voice their opinion. Making sure that every citizen takes advantage of that right is extremely important, and it is something Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) wants to ensure for students on campus.
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, OUSC put on Rock 4 Rights, an event specifically focused on helping get students to register to vote. Not only did the event have tables setup to have students register to vote, but it also provided food and entertainment as well.
At the entrance to the event, a poster board rested against the wall, where students could finish the prompt “I believe in…”. The answers ranged from “I believe in every US citizens’ right to vote”, “I believe in Medicare for all” or “I believe in confidence”.
Several different organizations were also in attendance of Rock 4 Rights. Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society, the Young Democratic Socialists and NextGen all came out to help inform students about their voting rights.
“We’re here to have fun, and to introduce different perspectives on politics,” said Kiera Woodward, president of Young Democratic Socialists.
Similarly, Pi Sigma Alpha’s goal is to help educate students about their voting rights.
“We are encouraging students to register to vote and make an informed decision,” said Ajaypal Gill, president of Pi Sigma Alpha.
Along with voting information, Rock 4 Rights also offered attendees several performances done by students on campus. These performances ranged from a choreographed dance to an acoustic cover of a Schoolhouse Rock song.
Alex Bertges, the campus health director for OUSC, was the first performer for the event. Bertges works as a volunteer for HeadCount, an organization that focuses on registering voters at concerts and music festivals.
“It’s all-in-all an organization that tries its best to give people access to the ability to vote that they may not have otherwise,” Bertges said.
Before her set performance of a hula-hoop routine to the song “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, Bertges gave an impassioned speech about voter disenfranchisement, and the different obstacles that some people have to go through in order to vote.
Another performer, senior sociology major Emma Boyhtari, appreciated all that Oakland does to get students to the polls.
“I think OU does a good job getting students to vote, between events like this and tabling and posts on social media,” Boyhtari said.
Ghazi Ghazi, the organizer of Rock 4 Rights this year, has even more plans to help get Oakland students to vote this November. One plan that Ghazi wants to put into action come Nov. 6 is to partner with Bear Bus to bus people to the local voting station. This would give transportation to students that otherwise might not have it on election day.
Oakland University was recently named one of the best colleges in the United States for student voting. That is because of programs like Rock 4 Rights and other outreach that student organizations like OUSC provide for students on campus.