Students teaching students about caucus

Amber Kispert

John McCain, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton: only time will tell who our next president will be.

Several student groups are currently working to help students be better educated on how to make that decision.

on the web

To find out more caucus information, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State Web site http://www.sos.state.mn.us

The Minnesota Student Association, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group have teamed up to offer students four nonpartisan caucus training sessions before Super Tuesday next week.

GAPSA Vice President for Public Affairs Matt Schmitt led the first training session Tuesday night in Coffman.

“We wanted to demystify what the caucuses are all about,” Schmitt said. “It really comes down to feeling more comfortable with the process.”

According to Schmitt, one of the common misunderstandings of the caucus is that it’s a type of primary.

Caucuses are different from primaries because there’s no official vote; participants show support through attendance.

“They show their support by their feet, not necessarily by their ballots,” Schmitt said.

The training sessions include a slideshow presentation outlining the caucus process and where to go in order to caucus.

“If you’ve never been through it, it can be a little intimidating,” Schmitt said.

Nutrition junior Alida Sorenson said she attended the Tuesday night caucus training because she wants to vote this year.

“It’s my first time voting, so I wanted to be a part of the political process,” she said. “I want to get out the student voice.”

Ryan Kennedy, a global studies and political science first-year, also attended the training session and said it’s pretty much essential for students to participate in the political races.

“We have to get our voice out and make them hear us,” he said.

Kimberly Marek, democracy task force leader for MPIRG, is working toward getting more political participation from students.

“I think that we are the voice of the future, and it’s very important for us to be heard,” she said.

She continued by saying a common misconception is that students can’t enact change, but that is not the case.

“I don’t think kids know they can make a difference,” she said.

Sorenson shared similar beliefs, saying that in order to get students excited and involved, they have to know the process and what’s important.

For those who missed the first two training sessions, two more will be held, one at noon on Thursday at the Law School and the other on Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Political Affairs.

“I think young voters are particularly motivated this year to get out and vote,” Schmitt said. “Students are going to want to participate for that reason.”