Students urge peers to be more politically aware


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30% of students were unable to identify J.B. Pritzker (left) and 45% of students were unable to identify Governer Bruce Rauner (right) in a survey of 200 students.

Elizabeth Hsieh, Editor-and-Chief

More than just keeping up with current events, political awareness includes understanding the changing dynamics of the government.
When compared to older generations, debate arises as to whether younger generations have become detached from what truly occurs in government.
“Students don’t really find politics interesting,” Claire Culbreth, senior, said. “If it doesn’t affect them immediately, then they won’t look at it.”
As social media and technology dominate the industry, the way that people consume news and politics has essentially changed. Instead of gathering political opinions from family and friends, social media platforms such as Twitter offers a place for students to vocalize their opinions. Whether it translates into an increased sense of awareness is debated.
“I think social media and technology have become just as much an influence as family on politics,” Max Navarro, senior, said. “I believe that because social media is so widespread more people have an awareness of it. However, just because they have more awareness doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right awareness.”
In some ways, the political presence in social media has been counterproductive.
“People who aren’t aware still put their opinion out there,” Isabella Garcia, senior, said. “They’ll say stuff on Twitter and be uneducated on the topic.”
Though people are starting to be more vocal about their opinions, many students feel more reluctant to get involved with politics than ever.
“Political climate is so intense right now, and I don’t want to get into arguments because people are so defensive,” Elizabeth Brecthel, senior, said.
The last election particularly sparked a great reaction, regardless of who people were voting for.
“It was a wake-up call,” Sanaa Vanzant said.
Politics may take a back seat in everyday life, but the people running the government and their beliefs impact the country in the long run.
“Voting is pretty much our only way to have a say in government, so why waste that shot by being ignorant about the people who will be our president or senators?” Brechtel said.
While students have more outlets for information than ever, it is in their hands what the students do with the information.
“I think it’s a very big deal for seniors because in a year or two, they are going to be able to vote, and make a difference,” Julia Smith, senior, said. “Their vote matters.”