Hawk the Vote petition to cancel class on Election Day. On Oct. 14, 1,562 people had signed the petition, with a goal to reach 2,500 signatures. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Lehigh students ramp up political involvement prior to Election Day

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With the upcoming presidential election less than a month away, young adults across the nation are seeking ways to get involved. For Lehigh students, there are multiple clubs and organizations that strive to broadcast the political voices of young adults.

The College Democrats, College Republicans, Student Political Action Coalition (SPAC) and Hawk the Vote are the main political groups on-campus. 

Both the Lehigh College Democrats and Republicans are chapters of nation-wide organizations that promote students’ involvement within their respective political parties. 

SPAC is a national organization that works to empower youth, regardless of political party, to reclaim their civic agency. 

Hawk the Vote is a Lehigh political organization that was founded with the purpose of petitioning the university administration to cancel classes on Nov. 3, the date of the 2020 presidential election. 

“There is currently a really big cohort of young people who are getting involved, and at the very least, becoming more politically aware than they previously were,” said Brandon Judge, ‘21, treasurer of SPAC. “The amount of awareness that we are seeing, frankly, is really inspiring, and I hope to continue seeing this type of support going forward.”

Judge said since George Floyd’s death and the recent intensification of the Black Lives Matter movement, SPAC and other political organizations have seen a significant increase in national involvement, primarily from a younger demographic. 

Hannah Kushner, ‘21, secretary of Lehigh College Democrats, commented on the abundance of student involvement with the upcoming election. 

Kushner, along with the other College Democrat leaders, initiate weekly discussions about current events, the recent presidential debates and general political topics. In addition, the Lehigh College Democrats have been working with Lehigh Valley Democratic U.S. Rep. Susan Wild’s congressional campaign as weekly phone bank operators. 

Ethan Moscot, ‘22, president of the College Republicans, said they have been working with the College Democrats to hold events such as voter registration informational sessions via Zoom. Both Moscot and Kushner expressed the challenges the remote semester has posed with holding such events. 

Hawk the Vote, a movement founded by David Owolabi, ‘20, is planning a day-long series of conversations, known as The Day of Civic Involvement, on Election Day. Both the College Democrats and College Republicans will be involved in different conversations throughout this day. A number of Lehigh professors will also be present at the event.

“The Day of Civic Involvement will be a full day event that will consist of different activities and conversations around political topics, the election and how the two parties are going to be moving forward,” Owolabi said.

He urged students to “challenge (themselves) to have a conversation (they) might not get to have on a regular day.”

Students who are looking to get involved in any of these activities or organizations should go to Lehigh’s LINC website. 

“Getting involved starts with informing yourself with current events and history,”Judge said.

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