The Campus Activities Board hosted an MTV Rock the Vote event on Monday night in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union to kick off their week-long voting drive: iVote.
"It is important that students care about voting and who becomes our next president," said CAB event coordinator Rachael Bacchus.
"Unfortunately, many students feel that it does not matter to them now, but what they don't realize is the decisions made by elected officials will affect their daily lives, especially when they enter the work force."
Opening the event, CAB held a dance-off and a Simon Says competition hosted by Mr. UCF and Miss UCF, to give away a number of promotional prizes for the upcoming Will Ferrell movie, Semi-Pro, that included tickets to a pre-screening, movie posters and T-shirts.
Once the competitions ended, MTV personalities Robin and Sirius, who have starred in several MTV reality series such as The Real World, Battle of the Sexes and the Gauntlet, spoke to students about the importance of voting.
"Our goal at MTV's Rock the Vote is not just to get you to want to vote," Sirius said. "We also want to help you find the candidates that suit you..."
"We want you to make informed decisions about the candidates, not just decide on a candidate because that is who your parents or your friends like or just on the basis of the candidates race or sex."
Robin and Sirius reminded voters of the issues that the candidates are focusing on this election, such as the war, education, health care, the environment, the economy, social security and gay marriage. Robin then advised the students to learn what the candidates have to say about these issues, not the spin on the candidates' positions that is offered by external sources.
"You guys must tune out the static when making a decision on a candidate," Robin said. "One good way to find out for you just how the promises of politicians line up with their actions is to look up their voting records online and see how they compare to the candidates platforms."
She said that the Web site www.votesmart.org is a good source for voting records.
Throughout the event, speakers stressed the importance of these upcoming presidential elections because of the diverse choice of candidates, the importance and the severity of the issues facing our country right now, the fact that whoever is elected will be able to bring a degree of change to the White House, and the fact that none of them are incumbent candidates.
"We're not up here to tell you who to vote for," both Sirius and Robin repeated several times. "We are here to make sure that you get out to the polls to vote for the candidate of your choosing."
Many of the students attending MTV's Rock the Vote were freshmen, who were offered 500 LINK loot points for attending. Additionally, CAB is offering a $250 prize to the organization that has the most students attend the most iVote events altogether.
"Having MTV here with Sirius and Robin is a great way to get young students that normally wouldn't come to a political event in the door to hear their important message," said UCF freshman Tyler Egbert.
"I also feel that their being reality TV stars instead of millionaire musicians helps them appear more on our level, more approachable, because they aren't thought of as better than us by the public for their great talent in music or whatever. They just happen to be one of us that got on a TV show for a season or two."
CAB's iVote event will continue all week with several different events to motivate students to get out and vote for their favorite candidate.
Each event will provide a chance for students to register to vote, engage in discussions with their peers about themajor issues this election season, and win an iPod shuffle, iTunes gift cards and T-shirts.
"We felt it was important to offer a variety of events over several days," said SGA Student Lobbying Coordinator Eric Kami. "This way we can appeal to a wide range of interests, and students with different schedules can still attend an event. It helps to get the most people out here to here the message on the importance of voting."
Tuesday night, CAB comedy hosted Tuesday Knight Live, a comedy night at Wackadoo's Pub & Grill in the Student Union. On Wednesday, they will host a concert at Memory Mall from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and CAB will be outside the Student Union every day this week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
© 2008 Central Florida Future via U-WIRE