When most people think of Greek organizations, the first thing that likely pops into their minds is partying. Greeks have a bad reputation, but at West Georgia, many Greek organizations have been trying to change that perception. Sigma Chi held a screening of the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11 and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. held a screening of the second presidential debate on Oct. 16. The presidential debate screening, which took three to four weeks to plan, also incorporated other organizations such as the Wolf Internet Radio, Student Government Association (SGA), Young Democrats, College Republicans and the Political Science Club.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. took the screening of the debate to a bigger scale by including many campus organizations. “We decided to do this event because many members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are also members of SGA. This year is very critical for young voters and we wanted to make sure they were educated. We also wanted to bring political awareness to the issues that would affect college students,” said Robert Sparks, Assistant Area Director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and SGA Parliamentarian.
Sigma Chi’s Vice-President set up his group’s debate viewing in order to promote Greek unity. “He felt it would give the opportunity for education on the elections as well as help in developing relationships between other Greeks and Sigma Chi. Also, collectively we felt that too many individuals do not watch the debates between the candidates before voting and this event gave the option to view this important aspect of the election,” said Tyler Mineo, President of Sigma Chi.
Along with the political aspect, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. wanted to make the event more appealing to students. By incorporating a live recording of the Power Hour for the Wolf Internet Radio, Sparks believed it was a success. “We got a lot of positive feedback. A lot of people said it was very successful in informing students on what they have to vote on,” said Sparks. Along with giving students an opportunity to watch the debate, they also brought out Robin Collins who is a speaker for the League of Women Voters in Carroll County. The groups added a bonus element of discussing what would be on the ballot specifically in Georgia and how it would affect students here. This helped students who weren’t as informed on the Georgia-specific questions they would be answering.
Sigma Chi took a different approach after the debate. “Following the debate we chose to not follow it with discussion because we wanted to prevent any sort of mass disagreement between individuals present,” said Mineo. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. tried to generate interest prior to the debate. The Wolf Internet Radio played a big part in the night. They taped a live episode of the Power Hour before the debate began and discussed the candidates, what they were hoping to hear and they also went into the crowd and invited listeners to voice their opinions and questions. The Power Hour crew livened up the audience throughout with their own debate between cast members.
Mineo strived to make students more aware of the issues and to not vote based on emotion rather than fact. “Too many college students cast votes based on who sounds better, who is more visually appealing and who his or her parents like rather than comparing what the candidate says versus what they have actually accomplished. Our goal was to inspire individuals to perform personal research which would lead them to making their decision in an educated and informed manner,” said Mineo.
One final piece of advice Sparks had was to go vote. “It is very important as a college student to vote. Those representatives are crucial at deciding our future. We need to be aware of their policies,” said Sparks.