CAMPAIGNS ON CAMPUS: UCSB full of active voters; Oxy students run political phone banks; NYU Abu Dhabi participates in international election roundtable

(Photo by Maddy Judd)
A screenshot of the controversial tweet that went around UCSB.

Madison Judd, ‘16, University of California, Santa Barbara

“I hear almost five times a day walking to and from classes, ‘Have you registered to vote? Because you know that you have to re-register when you move, right?’

“So everyone is very on the ball about registering and actually voting.

“Most people are liberal here, but there’s this one guy who’s famous for wearing all Trump garb. Like a Trump lanyard, shirts, socks, hats, screensaver – everything he owns seems to be Trump-related. At first I thought it was a joke, like how Max (Schmitz) and Johann (Dias) used to wear ‘Make America Great Again’ hats at school last year. But he’s actually serious.

“There was also this really famous image (on Twitter) that went around campus. People kind of lost their minds when they saw it.

“My dorm building also played all of the debates on the huge TVs down in the main study lounge.”

Micaela Bennett-Smith, ‘15, Occidental College (Eagle Rock, California)

“My school is very liberal, so there’s pretty much a consensus that Hillary is the best candidate.

“Students have participated in phone banks for Hillary, and all the presidential and vice-presidential debates were screened in our main auditorium. I watched all of the debates, and everyone would boo when Trump spoke, except for one student sitting in the middle of the room who clapped for him.

“There’s a group called ‘Oxy Students for Donald Trump,’ but it’s a parody account making fun of him.

“It’s been pretty tame because if there are Trump supporters on campus, they aren’t vocal about it.”

Manson Tung, ‘16, New York University Abu Dhabi

“I participated in an election discussion roundtable that was shared and broadcast in real time with NYU New York, NYU Washington DC, NYU London, NYU Florence and NYU Shanghai (not to mention NYU Abu Dhabi, of course). It was very interesting to hear.

“My classmates are surprisingly knowledgeable when it comes to the election, I hazard to say more so than my fellow classmates back in Sacramento. They pretty much know every issue in the election, and yet they still can’t believe how the U.S. allowed a reality television star to run for president of the United States. My friend Aygul said the other day to me, ‘You Americans think that you should be bringing democracy everywhere, but how’s that working out right now?’ It was hilarious.

It has been interesting  to hear, for example, (that)  Vietnamese students wonder if Trump, who seems to be more bullish when it comes to nations standing up to China, will actually live up to his word and be more defensive when it comes to the South China Sea.

“I filed for paperwork to vote. However, I still haven’t received my vote. At this point I’ve given up. Considering I’m a politics junkie and this is the first election I’m allowed to vote in, it is quite disheartening to know I can’t actually participate in it. Still holding out hope that it arrives, but if I was betting money on anything, confidence in the state of California to do something on time is not one of it.

“CNN came to profile our campus about watching the election debate a few weeks ago. I remember watching the debate live in the main student lounge with some of the other students (there were only three Americans compared to 11 from other nationalities). The debates aired at 5 a.m. Abu Dhabi time, so it was more of an accomplishment to see the debates live than you know!

I will watch the election results come in live as well (which will start rolling in here around midnight and continue through the wee hours).

Anyways, it’s been very fascinating to watch this slow-moving train wreck of a presidential campaign from far away. And by fascinating, I mean very comforting. Even if we have a President Trump, I’ll be spending the majority of my time under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa.

Aidan Galati, ‘16, University of California, Santa Barbara

“I don’t know a single person here that isn’t registered to vote. UCSB is really, really big on getting as many of its students registered to vote as possible. I think we’re ranked pretty high as one of the most active college campuses when it comes to voting for elections.

“There’s a whole committee of volunteers that focuses on getting students to register and then (shows) students when/where/how to vote. There are going to be a lot of opportunities on Tuesday for every student to vote.

“I’ve seen a lot of people standing around campus with flyers and signs that are advocating for a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on specific props in the election. I always let them pull me aside and give me their little speech, but it seems to annoy some other students who just want to get to class without being bothered by the election.

“I don’t blame them. I just have a lot of time between my classes, so I’m never in a rush.”

By Sonja Hansen

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