By Barbara Bender, President
Maryrose Weidner, Voter Service Chair, has been very busy involving students in voter registration activities.
Our first Hot Topics luncheon featured Harry Deitz, editor of the Reading Eagle, who discussed how the paper handles controversial topics. We invited Dr. Christopher Costello, faculty member in Communications, Arts, and Humanities and
Robyn Philactos, a student from Reading Area Community College (RACC) to attend. Danelle Bower, Associate Professor in the Social Sciences/Human Services Division at RACC, also attended the luncheon and indicated that she would like to partner with the League this year to find a project that will involve her students. She is interested in doing a Voter Registration Drive in the spring and has already come up with some ideas for that event to draw more students into the conversation and participate in the voting process. In addition, she is going to work with Liz Stanley, a long-time member of the Berks County LWV Leadership Team, who produces The League of Women Voters Presents, our monthly local TV show, on ways to involve her students. Ideas under consideration include having students call in with questions, assist with research (including interviews), prepare questions, greet guests, or participate in a panel discussion on the air.
Maryrose met with the Student Government Association chairperson from Penn State Berks. They are planning a voter service project for the spring and will stay in touch to perhaps work out on onsite open forum on registration and voting.
Maryrose also participated in Constitution Day at Alvernia College, where Susan Carty spoke to the students. College officials introduced the students to TurboVote, an online application that provides election information, voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications so that students can print the forms from their computers. TurboVote also sends texts and email reminders about upcoming elections so that no one should ever miss an Election Day. Some students chose to register to vote at the event with the assistance of League volunteers.
Maryrose also worked with Berks Career and Technology Center on Pride Day, an event for high school students, where five students registered to vote and two professors updated their addresses.
We hope to continue with the alliances that have been formed as we continue to reach out to other groups, especially those that involve young voters.