With voting season right around the corner, many will soon be casting their votes to decide who will be the next President of the United States, as well as the next state and local political officials.
The Latino Leadership for Voter Empowerment (L.I.V.E.) student organization is raising awareness to students at The University of Texas-Pan American about the importance of registering to vote.
"We're focusing on voter registration and advocating the importance of voting, especially here in the Valley," said Valeria Caso, L.I.V.E. vice president and economics major.
Formed in September 2011, L.I.V.E. strives to increase voter turnout through early registration and community involvement.
"Although our primary goal is to get people to register themselves to vote for upcoming elections, we encourage students at UTPA to become civically engaged with their communities as well," said Jessica Pena, L.I.V.E parliamentarian and dance major. "L.I.V.E. is a perfect reflection of who we are because in order to live to be able to exercise our rights as citizens, we must act on our right to vote."
The organization has participated at events such as HESTEC and Bronc Round Up. Most recently, the organization has been working with AACT (Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas) to cultivate long-term and structural civic participation and educate the community on the importance of their vote and voice in the electoral process.
The organization will have a booth available at the UTPA Student Union Quad on March 20 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to register qualified students.
"According to the statistics, it is people within the 19-25 age group who are not actively involved in the voting process, so we want students at UTPA to think and believe that they can do something about it," said Maria L. Hernandez, L.I.V.E. secretary and mechanical engineering major.
As part of their project, the group wants to make their registration drive event a fun experience and plans to collaborate with UTPA's Dancers Creative Motion and the Latino Theater Initiative.
"We want students to enjoy our registration event, but also to showcase the talent at UTPA. Our hope is that this will help students to get involved one way or another through the various student organizations working together," said Robert Danso, L.I.V.E president and biology major. "The main take home message is that everyone has a part to play. You have to get involved and if students see that other students are getting involved and realize that voting isn't just for their parents, they'll start getting more interested."
For more information, contact Danso at (956) 607-6623 or visit www.aactnow.org.