Campus gets swept up in election hype

In attempts to get Dillard students excited about voting, several on-campus organizations held a voter’s rally on the Avenue of the Oaks on Nov. 2.

The Dillard University’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Students in Free Enterprise , Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and Creating Awareness Using Social Exchange collectively got together to plan this event to get the message out one last time about the importance of exercising the right to vote.

The idea for the rally was formulated at a CAUSE meeting, involving Brandon Bowers, president of Student Government Association, along with some NAACP members discussing what could be done to enhance voting awareness on campus.

Ariel Smith, senior marketing major, said the rally was important because "it got a lot of awareness out" to students about voting and "brought unity to our campus."

The rally kicked off with music by DJ Mike Swift at 11:30 a.m. and started with a "Vote or Die" T-shirt trivia contest giveaway sponsored by YARDstyle Magazine. Theodore George, CAUSE Public Administrator, hosted the event. The trivia questions included naming the three presidential candidates and naming the year that African Americans got the right to vote.

Kerry/Edwards T-shirts were also handed out to those students who were supporters of the democratic ticket. A vast majority of students present at the rally were supporters of Senator John Kerry. Paul Beaulieu, host of political talk radio show "Between the Lines," was scheduled to be a guest speaker for the event but was unable to show up to the rally.

The event was scheduled to end at 12:30 p.m. with the procession to the polls, but was brought to an early halt with the downpour of rain. The march was going to lead all registered students from the flagpole on the Avenue of the Oaks to the Norman Mayer Public Library located on Norman Mayer and Foy Street. Although the rain came down hard, students said that did not put a damper on them casting their votes.

Felicia Stewart, theater major from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said the weather did not prevent her from coming to vote. Stewart said that she thinks that other students were "not at all" affected by the rain showers that filled the afternoon and poured throughout the evening. Other students agreed.

"Even though the rain delayed the actual voting rally, the cause was not interrupted," George said.

On the other hand, some students said that while the rain did not make voting a negative experience, other factors did.

Angela Gabriel, junior sociology/criminal justice major, said that while voting at the Norman Mayer Library, she wanted to do a provisional vote and was given a hard time. Gabriel also said that she was displeased with the wait.

"The lines were extremely long," Gabriel said. "With so many Dillard students showing up to vote, they should have at least had polls on Dillard’s campus."

Overall, students felt that the voter’s rally was worth it.

Stewart said that she was pleased with the results of the rally along with the efforts made by these organizations in planning it. "It got a lot more students out to vote," Stewart said.

Angela Woods, junior mass communication major, thought that the rally fulfilled its purpose. "I was really proud that they didn’t let the rain stop them from marching to the polls," Woods said.