This story was written by Alicia Abercombie, Badger Herald
Students for Obama hosted actors Shawn Pyfrom of Desperate Housewives and Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl on Saturday as part of the 2008 Homecoming Tailgate party for U. Wisconsin.
Both stars spoke to a crowd of young voters on Monroe Street about the importance of voting in the upcoming election and motivating others to do the same.
Pyfrom emphasized the importance of voting first-hand, especially for the young generation, by encouraging the students and others to get out and vote.
Four years ago, I had the chance to vote and I didnt because I felt that my vote wouldnt have made a difference, Pyfrom said. Over the last four years, Ive changed my opinion. Its possible that if I had voted, we wouldnt have the problems weve had the last four years.
Badgley also stressed the importance of getting out the vote, adding that younger generations have not had a good turnout in past elections and that needs to change.
For me to be able to speak here, and maybe influence one of you, is a profound thing, Badgley said. We need to motivate other people and then get them to motivate others. Im asking you to do all you can and hopefully everyone can do the same.
Pyfrom added that the young generations are the ones who will deal with the repercussions of the issues in the upcoming election, and so we have to let our voices be heard.
Pyfroms and Badgleys visit to campus was part of Students for Obamas Get Out The Vote program, and both student volunteers and the stars themselves asked students in the audience to volunteer in getting students to vote on Election Day.
Ami El-Shareif, chair of the University of Wisconsin Students for Obama chapter, said the campaign was very excited to have the young celebrities speak with student voters.
Its a great way to get students involved and excited about the election process and volunteering on Election Day, El-Shareif said. Students get to see that the young celebrities that they identify with support the same people they support.
Students for McCain Co-chair Mark Bednar disagreed with the importance of young celebritys support for candidates.
He added that while there are currently no young celebrities endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain in the same way as Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, there is a reason for that.
That is not the direction that McCain wants to do things, Bednar said. The McCain campaign is not about flash, its about substance. McCain wants young voters to relate to him as a person and a politician rather than through other peoples endorsements.
Bednar encouraged students to look at campaign platforms and positions when choosing a candidate instead of giving support merely because of a young celebrity. He also added that the McCain campaign agrees with Students for Obamas message of getting the vote out, and that they too are using all possible mediums to make that happen.