New nationwide initiative encourages student voting

Spinnaker

A group of 10 college interns from around the nation founded a viral voter registration campaign, Stop and Vote, with the intention of getting their generation to the ballot boxes this November.

The Concept Farm, a New York communications company, spearheaded this movement with hopes that its interns would become proactive and reach countless numbers of disaffected youth, according to a company statement.

Ray Mendez and Griffin Stenger, co-owners of The Concept Farm, worked closely with them to create and shape a project they could be passionate about while gaining valuable work experience that went beyond what was expected.

“I’m tired of hearing people whine and complain about the state of the country,” Mendez said “I needed to do something – not to express my anger, but to entertain people and get them to act. Eighteen- to 29-year-olds have so much at stake. But they don’t realize they have the power to shape this country’s future with their votes.”

What then resulted was the assignment to create a campaign to drive their generation to the polls.

The group identified the largest road block in the way of its generation’s participation in the political process as the “one person’s vote won’t make a difference” mentality, Mendez said.

To combat this line of thinking, the group – through their Web site, stopandvote.org – has offered Internet savvy users the ability to craft their own message, regardless of the controversial nature.

“If our entire generation were to truly leverage our power in the political process, we believe our elected officials would have no choice but to hear and address our concerns, regardless of which candidate wins,” said Yasin Abbak, co-founder of Stop and Vote and student at Drew University.

Abbak also commented about the comparisons between this movement and previous movements like Rock the Vote and Vote or Die.

“The campaign is by people our age, for people our age,” Abbak said. “There are no celebrities or politicians telling us what to do; we are all equal; this is our generation. If this campaign can reach five people, it is a success.”

Participants are encouraged to upload their own images and invent a catchy slogan or place the Stop and Vote logo on the image before sending the potentially viral message through their address book.

Abbak stressed the importance of this initiative and said the ultimate success of this generation is dependent on the response by college-age students.

“We’ve been underrepresented because we haven’t given politicians an incentive to account for us and represent our demographic,” Abbak said.

But not all students agree.

“The media is so accessable now anyone can step up and make a difference,” said Dane Conway a senior in communications.

E-mail James Cannon II at [email protected]