Students packed into the Lake Room at Norris to hear a discussion between actress and activist Sophia Bush and Erin Hannigan, a representative from When We All Vote, as well as ask Bush some questions of their own Monday night.
Topics of conversation ranged from Bush’s personal voting history to how participating in any election, not just a presidential one, is essential. Generation Action is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, so Bush also emphasized the importance of voting in terms of women’s rights and reproductive health.
“It’s really interesting to me because so many of the reasons that we vote have gotten hyperpolarized,” Bush said. “When [those in power] are debating the hot-button issue, that they understand mobilizes voters, they’re not being honest. It’s really up to us to be an educated constituency who gets to the heart of the matter.”
Bush also offered options students to get involved beyond voting, such as by canvassing for local candidates.
Student questions covered Bush’s perception of her political responsibility, how to talk to peers about voting and what to do when feeling discouraged about the future as a young voter.
“The reality is that as scary and as frustrating as things are, things have been worse,” Bush said. “I get that it feels discouraging. But it shouldn’t. If we don’t activate the highest voter turnout we’ve seen in years, it’s on us...If we don’t make ourselves heard, then it’s absolutely our fault if the dumpster fire gets worse.”
Members of Generation Action as well as the representatives from When We All Vote offered students information on how to get registered to vote and how to stay informed. They also mentioned additional resources for voting on campus.
Communications freshman Sammy Schumer felt energized by Bush’s words.
“Listening to Sophia really explained to me what the real reason behind [voting] is and gave me some motivation on why I’m doing this and to do the research and to delve in deeper than just like checking off boxes just to do it," Schumer said.
Editor's Note: If you have any questions about voting, registration, or would like to request an absentee ballot, you may do so at www.nuvotes.org.