Students discuss civic duties at K-State’s first Party at the Polls

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A wide variety of food and games was available at Party at the Polls, hosted by the K-State SGA in the K-State Foundation building on Tuesday. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The 2018 midterm elections saw ballots with the potential to shake up the country. The Kansas State Student Government Association worked with the KSU Student Foundation to create the first-ever Party at the Polls.

The event was hosted at the KSU Foundation building, which is across the street from the Denison Fire House, a polling place for some K-State Students. There was free food, live entertainment and games from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Essentially, we’re trying to promote kind of a fun environment around civic engagement,” said Hayley Spellman, governmental relations committee chair of SGA and senior in political science and communication studies. “Party at the Polls is supposed to kind of bring everybody together to just kind of celebrate the day.”

Spellman said though this is the first time she has seen K-State do something like this, she hopes the tradition continues.

“Back in the 2014 midterms, only about 20 percent of students our age actually voted in that election,” Spellman said. “We saw the 2018 midterms as the perfect opportunity to get students and encourage them to go out and vote.”

On the Spot Improv performed and played games involving political trivia — all part of the celebration on Election Day.

“I think the general consensus has been the importance of getting out and voting,” Samantha Crawford, freshman in business administration, said. “College students are usually classified under the generation that doesn’t vote, that doesn’t care, but I think that a lot of recent events have shed light on our importance. I think generally, people have been encouraging others to go out and use their voice.”

Rajat Kodira, junior in industrial engineering, said he believed the event was about bringing the university together for a cause — to encourage voting.

“I think civic engagement on college campuses nationwide is really low,” Kodira said. “I believe part of that is due to a lack of university-wide events and organizations in the sense of bringing students together to show that civic engagement isn’t just a one-person thing, it’s a community event.”

Lane Coberly, senior in political science associated with the student foundation, said the funding was provided by a grant of $1,000, which paid for food and entertainment.

Ethan Kallenberger, junior in medical biochemistry associated with the student foundation, said they hoped food and treats helped bring people out to the party, and gave others a reason to vote.

“An old mentor of mine said if you want to get people to an event, offer food,” Kallenberger said. “I think it’s not only a good way to reward people who are already going to the polls or are planning on going to the polls, [but] by making fun and making it an event, hopefully we’re encouraging people to go the polls or encouraging people to take their friends with them and offering this Party at the Polls as an incentive.”

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Hi there! I’m Julie Freijat, a staff writer at the Collegian. I’m a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communications; I believe accessible and accurate information is critical for a healthy society. I love insects, I hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.