The Civic War

Author: Dan Bernick, C’14

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” began Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In it, Lincoln spoke of the never-ending duty citizens have to strengthen our democracy. That civil war has found new life in the civic war being waged on Penn’s campus.

Enter the War Room.

This year, I had the privilege of being a volunteer for Penn Leads the Vote, a student-led, non-partisan voter mobilization organization at Penn. For months, Penn Leads the Vote helped students register to vote and encouraged all students – regardless of party – to cast a ballot.  On Tuesday, all of those efforts culminated in one final push.

More than two-dozen students spent the entire day of the election in Fox Leadership Hall; calling students and asking them if they voted. If a student had not yet voted, we made sure they knew where their polling location was. We fielded questions from confused voters, and worked to ensure every Penn student had an opportunity to have their voice heard.

Photo Credit: Ari Cohen’s Facebook page

Food was everywhere on the table, phones were out, computers were charging, the group leader was shouting names from the projector at the front of the room, and students were making calls over all the noise. It was a gory battle, but Penn won the Civic War–more than 3,500 students turned out to vote on Penn’s campus.  You can read more about it in the DP here.

Unlike some people who grew tired of the rhetoric, I cannot wait until the next election. Though I will have graduated from Penn by then, my experience with this organization has inspired me to remain an active and engaged citizen.


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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Daniel B., Student Perspective

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