BYU’s Office of Civic Engagement hosted a Political Involvement Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to give students an opportunity to meet candidate representatives, ask questions and sign up to volunteer with campaigns.
Representatives of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin were present to answer questions. The fair also featured representatives of other political candidates, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah; and Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, all of whom are running for re-election.
Family services student Levi Williams said although he chose to attend the fair as an assignment for a social work class, he found the experience valuable.
“I don’t like politics; I stay kind of far away from it,” Williams said. “But as I come here and I see people engaged in this, I just feel admiration for them because … it’s cool to see all these students involved in the election, in politics and, more importantly, involved in helping better our country and our state.”
Accounting student Cheyenne Larimer said the fair introduced options she didn’t previously realize were available, such as independent candidate Evan McMullin.
“I feel like it’s just one step for me to better understand the candidates and types of platforms the people are running on,” Larimer said. “I think it motivates me to keep learning more.”
Williams said being politically involved is an important part of enacting change for the better.
“I think it’s kind of dumb when I hear people complaining about what’s going on around them … if they’re not actively engaged in trying to change something,” Williams said. “It’s kind of like serving in the church: we serve in the church because we love God, and we want to contribute to the edifying and the uplifting of everyone involved in the church. I feel like when we’re civically engaged in our government, that same idea works: putting forth of our time to better and improve the community around us.”
The Office of Civic Engagement will host two more events in the next week to encourage political participation.
Political activist Holly Richardson will give a lecture titled “#AllVotesMatter” on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 11:00 a.m. in 250 SWKT. Richard Davis, the director of the Office for Civic Engagement, said the event is intended to help students understand the value of voting.
The office is also hosting a Voter Registration Drive from Monday, Sept. 26, to Wednesday, Sept. 28, at booths across from the Cougareat; volunteers will help students register to vote.
When asked whether the events this week will increase voter turnout in the upcoming election, Davis replied, “We hope so.”