Ross Votes - Two BBAs and the Future of our Democracy
By ben schuster, BBA '21, and isha lele '22
Why Voting Matters to Us
Growing up, we learned that one way to positively impact what happened in our community was by voting.
In doing so, and in getting involved with the political process during high school, we both saw aspects of our community change first-hand. For us, this manifested itself through involvement with student government, campaigns, and city youth committees. Though progress was sometimes slow, we noticed positive change when we got involved with the issues that matter. Sometimes, all it took was showing up.
Although we were both nervous about putting our political engagement in Cleveland on “pause,” we were pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to continue our engagement at the University of Michigan just 45 minutes outside of Detroit - a city with a similar history and politics as our shared hometown in Ohio. Here, we saw similar barriers to democracy, particularly low student engagement with the political world, and the opportunity to do something about it at Ross.
That’s why we started “Ross Votes!”
As part of the Big Ten Voting Challenge on campus, we both saw an opportunity to get more involved with the issues facing us and fellow college students. Increasing calls for racial justice and support for Black Lives Matter, the proliferation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring we graduate into a sound job market once we leave Ross are just a few concerns that have overwhelmed us these past few months. Students like us are recognizing that something needs to be done, however; we noticed that not many people are realizing that the change can be initiated by us at the grassroots level.
Ross student voter turnout in 2018 was 31.7%, leaving 68.3% of Ross students voices left unheard in the election. This year, millennials and Gen-Z make up the largest portion of the electorate, marking the first time that young people are the majority of the electorate in the history of the United States. In an election already slated for record turnout and one that will have resounding effects on the economy and business community for years to come, there simply hasn’t been a better time to get involved with this process than now.
This is a call to action. We can and must do better than we have in the past.
It’s up to us to ensure our friends and family are counted this November, regardless of their political background or beliefs. In a democracy like ours, every voice and vote matters.
For more information, visit www.govote.umich.edu/. Here, you can find information on registering to vote, voting in-person early or on Election Day, and how you can get involved to ensure all of our voices are heard this year.