The New Voice of the Movement
Students just want to know that their voice matters. As I’ve engaged with students on campus this semester, that’s something they all share. Most of the students who stop by my table light up when they hear that their voice matters. They always have an answer when asked what issues they care about. I’ve learned that students in Virginia really care about their community and their world and want leadership they can trust.
After a ride along with my regional director, Helen, I decided to test out one of her suggestions for fun and creative engagement; a straw poll. After finding some expressive and funny pictures of each candidate still in the race on Super Tuesday, I created a straw poll for my table at Old Dominion University. It was a big hit! Although tabling at Old Dominion almost always yields lots of interested students and new contacts, the straw poll engaged almost double that usual number of students.
Even people who had stopped and talked before, but never engaged fully signed up in order to participate. The straw poll was an instant conversation starter that allowed me to connect with students about important issues. It also started great conversations among friend groups who all voted at the same time. There was playful chiding, insightful questions, and spirited debates about the candidates’ policies, their character, and even a shot at the presidency. Yet overwhelmingly the students showed genuine interest and respect when discussing with me and others.
This is the new face of the movement. Young people learning together about what matters to them is the heart of Turning Point USA. In the midst of a tumultuous political season and many discussions that devolve into personal attacks, I truly believe students are the shining light for the future. They’re eager to learn and they love to know that their voice matters! Overwhelmingly, young people care about their community and country and want honesty and real solutions in politics.
And after all this talk about students’ opinions, I might as well share the results of the Super Tuesday straw poll at Old Dominion University. On the Democratic side, students’ top choice was Senator Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side Senator Marco Rubio won the “nomination”. No matter who wins in the real election or any to follow, I’m looking forward to encouraging more students to dig into what they believe and feel empowered to change the political culture through voter registration and activism training!