Why You Should Vote

by Hana Barkowitz

As a politically engaged student at a historically significant school like Kent State University, I know firsthand that the only way to change something broken is to dive in headfirst and get involved in the solution. This can be applied to many different scenarios, but one that is all too relevant is the 2016 election. I know what many of you are thinking: “Another political blog post?” No, wrong. This isn’t about democrats or republicans or independents or libertarians or anything in between. This is about exercising a privilege we are given as American citizens. That’s right folks, I’m talking about VOTING.

Kent State students are known for being strongly opinionated and standing up for what they believe is right. There are many forms of activism students are able to participate in, but one that too many disregard is the basic privilege to vote. It is absolutely vital that, along with social media rants about politics and protesting, we make it a point to register and go to the polls.

Regardless of how you vote, vote. I would highly suggest that everyone skip out on absentee ballots and instead change your registration address to your Kent address. I have found that many people run into too many problems with absentee ballots. To make it easier on yourself, follow some guidelines I’ve given below to learn how to change your registration address.

For my out-of-state friends or those who aren’t registered at all, it’s so easy to change your registration to your dorm or Ohio home. You have a few options as to how to do this. Your first option is to find a student organization that is registering students. I know that most political organizations will help you out with this. Another option is to head over to the Portage County Board of Elections (449 S Meridian St # 101, Ravenna, OH 44266) to fill out a registration form right there.

For my pals out there who are from Ohio originally and already registered in your hometown but want to change your registration address to your new Kent address, you can do that easily online. Just go to the Portage County Board of Elections website and update it, or just click here.

If you’re not completely sure if you’re registered or where you’re registered, click here.

Here are some general tips about registering to vote:

  1. For anybody living in a dorm or temporary housing, be absolute sure you bring proof of residency when you go to the voting booths. This means a utility bill, a bank statement with your temporary address, a government check or paycheck, or a government document that shows where you live. This is so the workers at the polling location can ensure that you’re a real resident of Kent. If you don’t do this, your vote can be counted as “provisional,” which means it won’t be included in the initial count.
  2. Register AS SOON as possible. That way, the Board of Elections can verify that your form is complete and correct and you won’t have to be stressed if your registration will be complete in time.
  3. Answer every single question on the voter registration form and double check that every field is filled out correctly.
  4. If you live in a dorm, put your dorm name and physical address, not mailing address, to make sure you’re placed in right precinct. This is very important, since the dorms are split into four different precincts.
  5. The last day you can register to vote is October 11th.
  6. If the last time you voted was in the 2008 election, you need to register again.

Notice how I mentioned earlier that voting is a privilege, not a right. This is an opinion I hold for various reasons. For one, it can be revoked. Other countries fight every day for the ability to vote, and American citizens are lucky enough to have it handed to us. Also, for my ladies out there, it’s a strange thought to realize that women haven’t even had the ability to vote for a full 100 years. That’s how new it is for us. Women fought really hard to be able to get us to where we are, we should thank them by practicing the capability!

Regardless of your political affiliation, you should vote. I’ve heard many people mention that they don’t know enough about the election to cast an informed vote. There is an easy solution to this problem, take this quiz or this quiz. These are good tools to know with what issues you most align with.

Your VOTE is your VOICE! Make it count.

I’m on NPR?!

By Hana Barkowitz, ‘18

I felt like I was going to throw up. I was more nervous than I had been in a while, and my words would air on national radio. What was said could never be lived down. When I get into politics, I get passionate. And when I get passionate, I curse. “Please don’t swear. Please don’t swear”, I kept repeating to myself. I have a tendency to embarrass myself, so I needed to make sure I didn’t do that in front of a lot of people.

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This is what an audience looks like from the perspective of an NPR panel.

Then Tom Ashbrook came into the green room and put everybody at ease. He is so charismatic and friendly, talking to him aided in melting away some anxiety. We talked generally about his career, and he asked us what we were most excited for and what we were hoping to get out of the discussion.

I heard the catchy tunes of the band that opened up the night, and while I wanted to dance and get groovy, I was too nervous. It felt like their set lasted for forever. I did listen to them again today, however, and realized how good they were. I wish I could have enjoyed them more when they were live.

We walked out on stage, and once I recognized some familiar faces sitting in the front of the audience, I felt much better.

The show began and it was over before I knew it. I wish I had more time to speak on some issues, but the show was only an hour, and it felt like 10 minutes. I never swore, but I did say that something sucks, and my mom yelled at me for that.

Overall I am incredibly honored and flattered to be asked to join and I am happy with the responses I gave. It was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

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Hear the broadcast online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M3j-YV-pUg&feature=youtu.be&t=17m19s.

PR and PINK

By Maggie Wachtel

 

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When thinking about everyday on-campus jobs at Kent State, students might think of working in a dining hall or sitting at the front desk of an office. But two Kent State students are gaining experience through a job that is anything but ordinary.

Senior fashion merchandising major Melissa Spetich and junior public relations major Taylor Pierce are adding to their personal portfolios by serving as the 2016-2017 Kent State Campus Reps for Victoria’s Secret PINK. Working as Campus Reps presents both girls with the opportunity to earn real-world experience in the public relations and marketing field. Their key responsibilities include planning and marketing campus events, running all social media platforms for Kent State PINK and posting blog entries.

Both students have experience in public relations in the classroom. (Spetich is a PR minor.) Their positions as Campus Reps give them the opportunity to see what it is like to represent and market a brand, a skill Pierce believes will come in handy later on.

“A huge part of public relations is having the skills to successfully plan and implement campaigns and events,” Pierce said. “This experience will be so helpful to me in gaining those skills.”

Victoria’s Secret PINK is part of “L Brands,” a fashion retail company based out of Columbus, Ohio. Other L Brands stores include Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel and La Senza. Being Campus Reps for PINK could give Spetich and Pierce the opportunity to work with The Limited and L Brands later in their professional careers, and Spetich said she understands this to be a huge advantage.

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“This program gives me the option to potentially pursue a career with The Limited, but I know Taylor and I will have to work hard as Reps and prove we are passionate and good at what we do,” Spetich said.

Pierce and Spetich said they have a lot of great events and contests planned for the semester. One of their main events will be hosting a viewing party for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Pierce and Spetich will also be in charge of the “Street Team,” a group of eight to ten girls who will help them market Victoria’s Secret PINK.

Learn more about Kent State PINK and stay updated about upcoming events by connecting with them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat at KentStatePINK.

Emotions Running High

This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Charleah Trombitas

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Preparing to study abroad in another county is a long and serious process. I chose to spend the fall semester of my junior year at Kent State studying in Florence, Italy. After I was accepted to the program in the spring, preparations immediately began. Making sure everything was squared away at home and I had everything I needed for four months in another country was a big stressor to say the least. The most challenging part pre-departure was the rush of emotion I was constantly feeling. I found myself frequently wondering if I had made the right decision. What if I don’t like Italy? What if it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? Those thoughts, combined with teary-eyed departures from friends and family in the days leading up to me leaving, made for more than a few breakdowns.

The day was here. It was time to get on a plane and start a new journey, and I was more than ready. Excitement rushed through me as I thought about all of the experiences I would have over the next four months. I said my final goodbyes to loved ones, checked my suitcase for anything I had forgotten a few more times, and boarded my flight. The feeling on the plane was something I have never experienced before. I knew, in that moment, that I was leaving the country bound to return a different person. After many tiring hours of flying and waiting, I arrived safely in the place I would be calling home for an entire semester.

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The adrenaline in my body was rushing through my veins as I stepped outside of the airport in Florence, Italy. I couldn’t wait to see more of the town and settle in to my apartment. On the cab ride to my apartment, I cried tears of joy thinking about how lucky I was to embark on this adventure. Though it was an emotional ride, the tears quickly dried when I found out we did not know how to get in to our apartment. After about an hour of worry and problem solving, a kind neighbor showed us how to correctly turn the key to unlock the door (this may sound silly, but locks are much different in Italy).  Our first problem had been faced and solved, and from that moment on, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

 

8 Things We Love About Being Back At Kent

by Gabrielle Woodard

There’s just something about coming back to campus after a summer away from your friends and your campus. Here are eight things we love about being back at Kent for the 2016-2017 school year:

1. Being surrounded by your Kent friends again.
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2. Hearing about everyone’s summer breaks.
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3. Catching up with your favorite professors.
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4. Experiencing the atmosphere of downtown Kent.
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5. Being reunited with your student organizations.
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6. Learning exciting new things.
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7. Getting back into a routine.
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8. Taking control of your future.
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Gifs courtesy of giphy.com.

Fear of Unknown Turns to Appreciation for Different Way of Life

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Stories of eye-opening interactions, culturally diverse friendships and new global perspectives answer the question: Can two weeks in a foreign country truly alter a student’s life?

Fear of unknown really set in when 19 students from Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information landed in Chengdu, China, last month. What resulted from the summer cultural exchange program at Sichuan University were unforgettable opportunities, such as eating rabbit’s tongue, getting lost in the city with little communication, and a newfound appreciation for a different way of life. It also forced students to not take American luxuries for granted.

The narratives on the CCI in Chengdu blog, https://cciinchengdublog.wordpress.com, are a window into the transformation of students’ minds and values, and if you asked any of them, they would say that it was more than a once-in-a lifetime experience; it was an unbelievable experience that educated them more about themselves and the world around them – something more than books and lectures alone ever could.

By Hana Barkowitz, junior public relations major

CCI At The Republican National Convention

Marketing Assistants in the College of Communication and Information had the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, Ohio. CCI was a sponsor of Purple America’s “Purple Tent” a destination for civil dialogue during the week of the RNC. 

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By Maggie Wachtel

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity last week to attend the Republican National Convention as a part of my job with CCI.

When I was first presented with this opportunity, I was a little hesitant. I don’t really consider myself politically involved. I watch the news and pay attention to the candidates, but you will never catch me having a debate on fiscal policy or immigration. But I knew this opportunity would be once in a lifetime and I couldn’t miss out.

CCI partnered with Purple America, a civic organization focusing on the shared values of Democrats and Republicans. Purple America set up the Purple Tent where they had an awesome lineup of speakers to talk about topics like the media and politics, civility, and millennials.

Purple America landed a lot of great speakers, such as Matt Dowd,  of ABC News, Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director for Facebook, and Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate. The conversations that went on between the panelists were really eye-opening, specifically the conversation on civility between presidential candidates.

I have noticed the months leading up to this election have been more insane than usual, specifically just the pettiness between the Republican presidential candidates. The speakers, on this particular panel, blamed social media for this problem, and I agree 100%.

Matt Dowd, of ABC News, used the example of the comments Senator Marco Rubio made about Donald Trump having small hands. Social media took that comment and ran with it. Marco Rubio became a trending topic on twitter, not for his political platform, but for making comments about Donald Trump’s HANDS. It is completely insane when you think about it. And it’s all because of social media, everything creates instant attention.

A candidate can make a stupid comment at an event, then reporters and attendees can instantly tweet it and the world knows. We don’t have to wait to hear about it on the nightly news or read about it in the morning paper. This is the age we live in now, and it’s only going to intensify as the presidential election approaches.

All the panelists agreed the days of being civil with opponents were over. It’s now a more popular tactic for candidates to focus on tearing each other apart, rather than focus on what they can do as president.

But no matter what your political beliefs and opinions are, I think anyone could benefit from attending an event like this. It truly opened my eyes to more political issues that captivate our country and I think I walked away a more informed citizen.

 

BY students FOR students in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State