An appeal to the student ego: Use your power. Vote.

Op-Ed Blog by Kylie Rush

“With great power comes great responsibility,” as Spiderman’s uncle once said.

As college students, how much power can we really have? Every day we go to classes that are practically determined for us with our graduation requirements. We eat the food prepared for us according to our meal plan or budgets. And we live with roommates that are often assigned to us as freshmen. The most power we seem to have is what we want to wear that day. But our power extends far beyond that. We are citizens of the United States and therefore have the great ability to choose our President.

The closer it gets to election season, the more I hear the argument, “Why should I care?” The real question should be, “Why don’t I care?” As cliché as it sounds, we are the future of our country and need to take that responsibility upon ourselves to get informed and decide who is best to run the nation.

Although the number of college-aged voters is slowly rising, it’s not enough. In 2004, only 47 percent of college-age students voted; in 2008, that number only grew by 2 percentage points, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That number isn’t nearly high enough. There are enough members of the Millennial age-range (18-29) that we really can make a difference and “Rock the Vote.”

Living in Des Moines makes this particularly frustrating for me. We have candidates brought right to our campus as well as all around the Des Moines area as they are preparing for the Iowa Caucuses and many students ignore them. Some take advantage of the accessibility, like the Grinnell students who Bachmann so blatantly ignored at a pumpkin patch Oct. 4. In all reality, you have to go out of your way in Des Moines not to run into a presidential candidate at some point. To be so apathetic in such a political state seems just wrong to me. When politicians are right at your disposal we should all want to be as well informed as we can.

Photo from Lessig.com

As college students, we are very busy people. I’m involved with several clubs, have an internship and take a full course-load. I’ll admit, I can’t make it to every political event that comes to town. The least that anyone can do is try. Even if you can’t stay for the entire event, it's at least beneficial to show up, hear a little of what the candidates have to say. Make your own, informed decision instead of relying on others to tell you how to vote.

Making up 13 percent of the population, I urge college students to get informed about the new candidates and make the decision that will best serve the nation. Whether you actually attend the event or just read about it online, any information will help make an informed decision. Don’t just base your vote off your parents’ or friends’ opinions. The most important thing is to get out there and vote. We are smart enough to make the decision and our votes will make a difference.