Rock the Vote to visit UCF campus
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 15:08
Rock the Vote will travel the country on its Road Trip Bus Tour this campaign season making voter registration fun by offering live music, games and free giveaways. Among the first stops is the UCF campus.
After the first stop in Tampa at the Republican National Convention and before the stop at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. the RTV Tour Bus will visit UCF on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In response to recent efforts by politicians to restrict the youth vote, RTV launched the We Will campaign this election year. By combining music, celebrity promotion and technology, RTV aims to educate and empower a record-high number of young voters in the 2012 election.
“The bus tour is more than just a bus; it is a traveling one-stop center for students to prepare themselves. We had a big RV gutted, painted and restored. There are screens to watch videos, kiosks to register to vote, places to play video games, get your picture taken and there’s even a sound-proof booth in the back for recording. It’s crazy,” said Heather Smith, president of RTV.
RTV’s mission is to engage and build political power for young people in the U.S. It does that by using grassroots foundations combined with draws such as music and technology.
“We’re really excited to bring students together on campus, have a good time and at the same time register to vote. The state of Florida has shown time and time again in elections that every vote counts so we are thrilled to be coming to different campuses,” Smith said.
Bringing students out to register and become educated is the mainstay behind this project, which is not affiliated with either political party. Students can also update voter registration information if necessary.
“This is aimed toward young people and first-time voters so that they can learn and become aware. There are never really concerns over bipartisanship at RTV. We are flexing our political muscles at both parties,” Smith said.
By enticing young voters with the pop-culture and technology-infused events, RTV has made a heavy impact upon the youth vote in recent elections. After a couple decades on the scene, RTV’s progress has been made known.
“Our first election we participated in was in 1992, so this has been going on for over 20 years. It is growing over time: Our first election we used fax machines and 1-800 numbers with Madonna as our entertainment. Now, 20 years later, with everything online and Facebook and cellphones it has just blown up. The first time in 1992 we registered about 2,000 voters. That number grew to over 2 million in the last election,” Smith said.
The excitement for the upcoming RTV event doesn’t stop with those involved. The excitement of campaign season stretches onto campus where some students are already planning for RTV.
“I think it is extremely important that students get registered to vote and actually go vote just so we can have our own voice,” said Aubrey Marks, president of the UCF College Democrats and a junior studying political science. “I think Rock the Vote will really excite people especially since they’re having a concert right here on campus.”
RTV has come a long way since Madonna at the first RTV event in 1992. This year a techno-infused rock band from Los Angeles called Capital Cities will be performing live at UCF.
“I already registered the other day, but I kind of wish I would have waited for RTV,” said Jason Rian, a freshman at Seminole State College studying biology. “I still plan on going to Rock the Vote with a couple of my friends to register and listen to the music.”
Remember, if you miss the event you can still register online at rockthevote.org.