In the 2012 presidential election, the Colby Democrats and Colby Republicans, both active clubs on campus, actually worked together to help people vote and stay informed. In the presidential election, as well as local ones, both clubs campaigned actively for their candidates of choice and encouraged people on and off the Colby campus to vote. They also collaborated to promote early voting, and both encouraged everyone to vote, no matter who they were voting for. In addition, the clubs held a debate two weeks before the election so they could better get their respective views across to other students. Such efforts have been common on the Colby campus for many elections.
Efforts to educate and inform have been strong at Colby during both general elections and primaries. In February 2008, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement sponsored a lecture series called “Know Before You Vote.” The lectures were designed to help students be more informed about all the issues they were voting for during the primaries and the general that year. Professors discussed issues relating to their subjects of expertise to help expand the knowledge of Colby community members.
The efforts to educate during elections have existed both inside and outside the classroom. Just as there is in this current election , a government class specifically designed to track the presidential election as it was happening was offered at Colby in 2008. The class was taught by Professor Anthony Corrado , who stated in a past Echo article that it aimed to “offer a combination of political science research, lessons from recent campaigns, and practical politics in order to help students understand the 2008 presidential election and future elections.” Students examined past elections, watched debates and news coverage, and anticipated media reactions to events relating to the election.
Education and events surrounding past elections have been put on by Colby community members. During the 2008 primaries, Chelsea Clinton visited Colby shortly before the Maine caucus to campaign for her mother’s candidacy. Clinton spoke to about 200-300 students about the Iraq War, healthcare, economic policy and climate change. While her campaign was optimistic they would win the state of Maine in the 2008 primaries, they lost to then-Senator Barack Obama by 20 point, and Hillary Clinton lost the Maine caucus in 2016 as well.
The efforts to educate and motivate students at Colby have certainly varied in past elections. There have been academic classes, rallies on campus, debates and discussions between students with varying views, get-out-the-vote efforts, and student-run campaign work. Whatever your political view, there have always been chances on campus during presidential elections to stay informed and to inform others.