At Rackham, the freedom to voice your opinion and engage in intellectual exchange is the cornerstone of our academic mission. In the United States, the right to make your voice heard by voting is just as fundamental to our democratic society. That’s why I am urging all graduate students who are registered to vote to do so next Tuesday, November 6.
The University of Michigan has a partnership with TurboVote for the Big Ten Voting Challenge, which is aiming to increase student voter turnout by 200 percent. Through the TurboVote site, you can confirm your registration status, get information on absentee ballots, and locate your polling station, among other things.
The university is also providing assistance to those voting locally. There will be a free bus service throughout the day on Tuesday to a number of Ann Arbor voting sites. The pickup points will be Ingalls Mall (next to the Alumni Center) and Bonisteel Boulevard (Duderstadt, North Campus), and service will start at 6:00 a.m. The pickup points will offer free coffee, food, voting information, and more.
Although not all of us, including international students, are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s election, there are still many other ways to participate. I encourage you to speak with others about the issues, the candidates, and the significance of the day. You can use your voice to help others understand how the election affects you and the higher education enterprise in which we all interact. It’s a great time to be heard and to listen to what others in our community have to say. The U-M International Center offered this insightful blog post for international students to consider on Election Day.
For those of you who are eligible to vote, I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to cast your ballot. Just as diversity is essential to our excellence as a graduate school, a democracy is at its best when all of its constituents engage. In a dynamic political climate where the opinions that drive our headlines and our social feeds can feel overwhelming, a critical and meaningful way to shape the issues that matter to you is by voting. Whether you do so in person or through absentee ballot, I urge you to take the time to take part.
This column is the first of a regular series in which I will address topics of interest to the Rackham community, including our more than 8,500 graduate students engaged in master’s, doctoral, and certificate studies.