Alina is a history major and English minor here at SNU. She is originally from Belize, C.A., and loves reading books, studying history and all things Abraham Lincoln. She has worked as a U.S. history tutor and after grad school plans to become a college history professor. [/author]
With the Iowa caucuses today and the national elections quickly approaching, it is important to get to know just who might be running the country. As college students, additional reading doesn’t ever sound appealing, but being politically informed is still important. Here are some tips on how to stay informed and engaged with the political happenings around you:
1. Find other friends that want to be politically informed. Not only does it keep you accountable, it’s much more fun with friends. Have a watch party! Although you could probably be watching a movie, playing frisbee golf or working ahead on homework (yeah right), in an effort to stay politically informed you could also get some friends together to watch live coverage of debates, town hall meetings or speeches.
2. Downloading news or link saving apps and/or following news stations and politicians on social media. This can help keep you up to date on current and relevant events. CNN, Fox, Al Jazeera, New York Times and many more all have free apps for iPhone and Android. You can also follow them on Twitter or other social media. Another option is to download link saving apps like Pocket or Readability for saving articles you plan on reading later. Other helpful sites/apps include theSkimm and News for iPhone.
3. Pick a couple issues that you are passionate about and research them. Being politically engaged and informed is not only about learning about the craziest of candidates, it’s also about learning who you are and the things that inspire, anger and spark your interest.
4. Find a candidate that is passionate about the things you are passionate about. Whether that is Hillary, Bernie, Trump, Cruz or Rubio, it’s important to know what the people that could potentially be getting your vote actually stand for. Political Science Professor Dr. Anthony Rodin suggests to take a few minutes and write down a few issues that are important to you. He says, “Don’t think just because you’re young politics doesn’t affect you… You will never fully agree with either party. The key is to find issues that are important to you.”
5. Most importantly, get registered to vote! It’s almost time for the primaries and if you’re not registered yet, you should be! Although it may seem like your voice, opinion and vote will be drowned out, it is incredibly important to participate in this process. After all, this is your country!
Kenya Buttel, a politics and law major, said she stays informed by “watching political debates, reading up on current events that happen here and abroad… Another way is to also read newspapers from other countries to be informed [about] what is going on there.”
She also pointed out that we who are millennials have the chance to make America our own.
“We actually have a chance to make a difference. These politicians and policies have an impact on our lives,” said Buttel. “Being informed on the issues that matter to you could impact those around you, because that means you can be a voice for [those issues]. Honestly, if you don’t like how things are, then take a stand and change it. The only way to do that is to be politically informed, even if you don’t necessarily want to be involved in politics.”
In conclusion, this is your America; it’s your responsibility to make it a better place. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”