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Community Work and Learning gets first-time voters to the polls

With help from the Center for Community Work and Learning, students from St. Catherine University participated broadly in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, with many of them voting for the very first time.

Regardless of their stance on the issues, students enthusiastically boarded a college van, provided by the St. Catherine University Athletics Department, throughout the day, to travel to their polling location and cast their ballots.

"St. Kate's Voter Turnout has been incredible today," said D'Ann Urbania Lesch, assistant director of Community Work and Learning. "I drove the van once only, and felt so inspired by our students, and their energy and enthusiasm around exercising their right to vote!"

Students speak out

Many of the students using the van service to get to the polls were first-time voters. Here is a sampling of what they had to say about the experience:

"It was so exciting! It was simple and everyone should do it!" — Laura Crepeau '16

"I'm excited because it's my first time voting!" — Holly Staples '15

"The freedom to vote is really important to me. I'm happy that I live in a society that allows my voice to be heard." — Kerrick Sarbacker '14

"This is my first year voting, and I feel strongly toward the candidates. Now is an important time to vote because our economy, education, and healthcare systems are topics of importance in our country and for us as college students." — Ria Foslien '15

"I'm nervous because it's such a close race and whoever wins will affect me greatly." — Natalie Horton '15

"It will help the next four years. I want a good president to make the world a better place by becoming financially stable and creating more jobs." — Christina Dubisar '15

Motivating young voters

Members of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), a non-partisan, nonprofit student organization, also helped to answer questions about the election on Tuesday. They set up in the Coeur de Catherine student center during the lunch hours to remind students to vote and to answer questions about voter registration and polling locations.

Under the direction of Campus Coordinator Sarah Casper, St. Kate's students Rachel Thompson '14, Josephine Heyl '15, Sally Demgen '15, Sarah Zieke '14, Mara Blish '14 and Carla Cardenas '15 answered questions about the election from their peers.

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Nov. 6, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Leadership, Students