With the presidential election just over two months away, some students at the University of Alabama are actively participating in the campaign and spreading the word about their candidate of choice.
Ben Foster, a senior majoring in political science and telecommunication and film, will be traveling to Minneapolis, Minn., to take part in the Republican National Convention as delegate. Foster gained the seat when McCain came in second in District 7 during the primary elections in February.
The state party informed me five days after the primary that I would be a delegate, Foster said. McCain had enough votes to get one seat in District 7 and it went to me.
Foster said his participation in Boys State and the Universitys Blackburn Institute helped him realize he could not be an observer, but that he instead had to become active in public service, especially in the state of Alabama.
Foster signed up to become a delegate in November after he received a McCain newsletter calling for delegates. He said the polls were not favorable for McCain at the time, but he stuck with him. No one else signed up for the District 7 place one spot, so Fosters name was not even placed on the ballot.
I was in the right place at the right time, Foster said.
When Foster signed up to become a delegate, he became a part of the Alabama for McCain Steering Committee. Foster also serves as the chairman of UA Students for McCain. He said the group will become more visible in the coming weeks.
The media tries to convince you that Obama has a monopoly on college students. We are working to provide information on our candidate, Foster said. We are going to give college students things they can see and touch.
Students can keep up with Fosters experience at the convention by reading his blog at conbention08.blogspot.com.
Kendra Key, a junior, also made a bid for a delegate seat. Key said she became interested in becoming a delegate for Sen. Barack Obama after she attended the National College Democrats Conference held in South Carolina in 2007.
After the primary election, Ken King, the Tuscaloosa County chairman for the Alabama Democratic Conference, informed Key she had won Tuscaloosa County. Key checked the Web site to see if she had enough votes to gain a seat.
I did not receive enough votes to place me in the top four in the state, Key said.
Even though Obamas Tuscaloosa office is closed and she was not able to become a delegate, Key said she is still working to make sure that students get out and vote.
Regardless as to whether or not Alabama is a powerful state in deciding the outcome of the election, it is important for [students] to participate in this election cycle, she said.
Blake Westbrook, a senior majoring in political science and history, did not attempt to become a delegate, but was still able to travel the site of the Democratic National Convention. As the vice president of the UA Chapter of College Democrats, he was able to attend the organizations convention, which was held in Denver, Colo.
I was able to get into the complex, but not into the hall where everyone was speaking, Westbrook said. I was able to peer in and see Hillary [Clinton] give her speech.
Westbrook said the College Democrats will be registering voters and nforming students about the Democratic Party and the partys candidate. He said they are working to remove apathy from campus.
Anyone who believes their vote doesnt count should look at Florida in 2000, Westbrook said. If you dont vote, you cant complain.