BY Amy Petrovich
PioneerVote, an essential movement on Sacred Heart University’s campus, is now officially a club.
PioneerVote is known for its success in bringing together the University’s student body to vote against the “North End Proposal,” which was the Bridgeport housing ordinance that aimed to limit the number of individuals residing in rental homes.
The overwhelming success of PioneerVote has created an awareness among students for how powerful their voices and votes can be.
Co-presidents Carlos Ruiz, Meridith Kennedy and Alessandra Leone have a mission for the movement to continue to make an impact on the University’s campus.
“In order for it to continue to leave its mark, we believed that by transitioning into a club it would allow for more students to be involved other than just registering to vote. Our goal is to still continue to teach students the importance of voting and how our voices can and will be heard if we vote,” said Ruiz.
Raising awareness and promoting participation in the upcoming 2020 election is part of the club’s new initiative.
“There has been some discussion this semester regarding a debate on the 2020 presidential election. PioneerVote would be the sponsor of this event,” said Dr. Gary Rose, PioneerVote’s club advisor. “We hope that PioneerVote will generate enthusiasm and student engagement in the political arena.”
The club maintains that political involvement is extremely important, and using the information that all students have available to them to stay politically involved is essential.
“We live in a time where we are constantly being informed of what is going on politically, environmentally, anything really. We all have opinions, we can easily share our thoughts with a retweet, reposting posts on our social media, and we all have our thoughts on how things should be done. Though, some of us aren’t voicing those opinions when it comes to the polls, or many of us don’t know where to start when it comes to being politically active. For some students, it can be scary,” said Ruiz.
The club intends to expand its reach across the Sacred Heart community with the goal of gaining more members.
“The club has just been formed and hopefully by the end of the semester it will be known as one of the more vibrant clubs on campus,” said Rose.
Despite the past success of PioneerVote, this new club is working hard in order to gain more student involvement.
Many students who do not live in the state of Connecticut are unaware of the steps that must be taken in order to vote in the upcoming election.
“I don’t know how to vote if I’m not going to be home at the time. I would really like to vote if I had the information on how to do so,” said Nicolette Peppe, a sophomore from New Jersey.
This lack of knowledge about absentee voting is a problem that many Sacred Heart students and students around the country have. It is essential that students are informed and have the desire to exercise their right to vote.
“To me, the ability to vote means the ability to make a difference in the leadership roles of this country. Having the ability to vote gives individuals the opportunity to choose who we want to represent us as citizens; we are able to express our personal beliefs through the right to vote,” said junior Kylee Harvey.
PioneerVote aims to spread across Sacred Heart’s campus in the hopes that more students feel as though they have the knowledge and resources to vote for a candidate of their choice.
“As we always say, ‘No Vote, No Voice.’ If you are unhappy or believe that your vote doesn’t make a different, you can’t complain if the candidate of your choice is not the winner,” said Ruiz.