This past Tuesday’s local elections weren’t considered major on the national media circuit, but for Bennett College students, the opportunity to vote is never taken lightly. Each election cycle, the Student Government Association sponsors the March to the Polls ACES event. This past Tuesday was no exception. The SGA rallied up the voting troops at 11 a.m. and proceeded to march from the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel to the nearest polling place, singing the alma mater and other favorite Bennett cheers throughout.
SGA called this event “The Final Round” because it was the third time that students marched to vote this election season. Senior Lydia Blanco, a Journalism and Media Studies major serves as the SGA’s Miss Royal Blue and White. She is responsible for organizing all ACES events, so she was instrumental in organizing “The Final Round.”
“This was the most interactive ACES we had this semester in an effort to get our sisters to get out and vote and be active in the Greensboro community,” she explains. “We marched to the polls to show that Bennett Belles are voting Belles. We didn’t sleep this election season. We were wide awake and ready to vote.”
Students were as excited as SGA about casting their votes for the next public officials in Greensboro. Sabrina Noel-Edgar, a sophomore Journalism and Media Studies major, voted. She thought it was important for other Bennett students to vote as well. “If you don’t vote, your voice will not get heard. Voting is the best thing to do because that is how you can get your voices heard by the people who will be representing you.”
Bennett has prided itself on having a large voter turnout in previous elections. Rachel Pridgen, the Director of Student Activities has been working with the SGA to keep these numbers high. The SGA advisor says, “SGA always does March to the Polls because it’s important for every student to be involved in her community. From new student orientation, I’ve been registering freshwomen voters so they will know the importance of voting each election season.”
Activism is important to the Bennett College community. According to the 2010 – 2011 Bennett College Fact Book, 95 percent of the college’s population is registered to vote. This high percentage is the reason that Alma Adams, Ph.D., a North Carolina representative and Art History professor at Bennett started the phrase “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles.”
Though students have been marching to the polls for decades, Pridgen doesn’t think students should take the right to vote for granted. “A lot of people have worked hard so students can have this right to vote,” she says. “We can’t take this right for granted. Students have to get out and vote or what they think won’t matter in the long run.