Voting Matters: How Being Prepared Can Help You Choose


Rebeca Chieffallo holds an ‘I voted for the first time’ sticker.

For many young adults, this presidential election is the first time they’ll be voting. This is true not just on this campus, but across the nation as a whole. This fact also applies to me. Though I previously voted in primary elections, I have not voted in a presidential election.

Voting in a presidential election for the first time is a pretty daunting experience. It carries a lot of weight, and the results can impact this country and society for years to follow, long after the presidential term has ended. Many first-time voters may be experiencing uncertainty, especially considering the nature and divisiveness of the current political climate. To deal with these feelings of uncertainty and pressure and to have more confidence, I decided to try to educate myself before going to the polls. I learned that it’s not a matter of party affiliation, more so learning about the issues that are most important to you and have the biggest impact on your life. I felt that I needed to learn more about politics. Doing so helped me make better-informed decisions — during any election — as a voter.

I approached some experts on our campus to talk about the election process and how daunting it can all be.

Political science professor Dr. Jean Harris.

Jean Harris, Ph.D., a professor of political science at Scranton, offered insight into the importance of voting and how it creates a better society when everyone participates. She told me how voting is the most common form of political participation and noted that those who vote decide to do so because there are benefits that come along with voting.

“[The benefits can be] a sense of self-esteem, a sense of making a difference or the pride of being a responsible citizen,” Dr. Harris said.

In response to the idea that a singular vote does not hold much weight in an election, Dr. Harris encouraged me (and others!) to still go out and cast their ballot, mostly because the electorate listens to the people.

“Elections have been won, and lost, by as few as one vote,” Dr. Harris said. “Your vote [could be] combined with those of others who voted [the same way] you did, [and then] elected officials have to pay attention.”

She also encouraged participation in the political process by staying informed, writing to elected officials and attending public meetings. She said that elected officials pay attention to these forms of participation.

“Write letters to your elected officials [and] the editors of your local paper,” Dr. Harris said, “Elected officials read [these letters] to see what the folks back home are thinking.”

So, what happens if the results aren’t what you had hoped for? Surely there will be some negative emotions that come with such an outcome, right? That’s what I was asking myself. Learning how to cope and handle these emotions, I thought, was important to the overall betterment of society. Continue reading

Register to Vote

The election on Nov. 6 is swiftly approaching. However, we can’t vote the change we want to see if we’re not registered! With the options of registering online, by mail or in person, there’s no excuse to not exercise your rights as an American this year.

If you’re not already registered, don’t worry, you have until Oct. 9 to do so.

Online Registration:

Pennsylvania offers online voter registration for anyone with a Pennsylvania ID ( If you don’t have a Pennsylvania ID, you can still register to vote by mail.)

Mail Registration:

Print and fill out the National Voter Registration Form.

Send the completed form to your local election official. To register by mail, the form must be postmarked by Tuesday, October 9.

In-Person Registration:

  • You can also register to vote in person. The deadline to register to vote in person is Tuesday, Oct. 9. Contact your local election office for information on when and where to register to vote. Just type in Lackawanna County and you’re good to go!

If you are not a U.S. citizen and a resident of Pennsylvania at least 30 days before the next election, you CANNOT register to vote.

 Call 1.877.VOTESPA (1.877.868.3772) if you have questions about registering!


November 9

Voting: Election Day on Campus

By: Megan Castaldi

As many people know, the 2016 presidential race has been an interesting one, to say the least. The time has now come where our country must elect into office, the new President of the United States.

Here at The University of Scranton, this election is the first time the majority of students have been eligible to vote. Many have showed much enthusiasm through the duration of the presidential race.

Mackenzie Derosa is a junior. “Being eligible to vote forced me to do my own research and become informed,” she said. “Although this election is very controversial, I’m happy I get to play a role in its outcome.”

To get students involved and informed, the College Republican Club and the College Democrat Club hosted an Election Day watch party Tuesday evening, starting at 8 p.m. on the fourth floor of the DeNaples Center.

Carson Clabeaux is the president of the College Republican Club. “It is vital that everyone vote, specifically for the candidate who supports the manner they want to see the country approach economical, social and international issues.”

The president of the College Democrat Club declined to comment.

Many Scranton students voted on Tuesday, wearing their “I Voted” stickers on articles of clothing and backpacks. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gear was seen throughout campus.

Students expressed how powerful voting is and how honored they are to fulfill their civic duty.

Kassie Dunn, a sophomore, said, “As a first time voter, and as a woman, I find it very important to exercise your right to vote. The election was different than many in the past, and if everyone voted then the outcome may have been different. I think that many millennials did not exercise their right to vote and the could have really affected the outcome of this year’s election.”

Elaine House, a junior, said, “I voted because I haven’t been very involved in politics in the past, but actually being able to vote made me feel a sense of responsibly and made me want to express what is important to me.”

Need to reflect on election results?

The Schemel Forum in collaboration with The University of Scranton Office of Government and Community Relations is holding a “ Post-Election Reflections” Roundtable on Monday, December 12, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. in Weinberg Memorial Library, Room 305. A discussion including political, historical and philosophical perspectives on what comes next. Moderated by Julie Schumacher Cohen and Sondra Myers. RSVP to Limited to 30 participants.

CAPTION: The University of Scranton’s College Democrats and College Republicans clubs jointly hosted watch parties for the presidential and vice presidential debates. The clubs also hosted an “Election Day Count Down” Tuesday, Nov. 8, to watch the election night results. From left: representing the College Democrats club are Peter Zabiegala of Scranton, development officer and international business and economics double major; Emily Lundeen of Allentown, student outreach officer and counseling and human services major; Sergey Gnilopyat of Harding, vice president and biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major; Sarah Laga of Westbury, New York, secretary and international studies major; and Joseph Delmar of Flourtown, president and biophysics and philosophy double major; representing the College Republicans club are Carson Clabeaux of New Woodstock, New York, president and biology major; Natalie Russo of Livingston, New Jersey, treasurer and finance and economics double major; Thomas Meehan of Elmhurst Township, secretary and economics major; Schuyler Smith of Towanda, director of communications and political science major.

Take a Look Inside: The C-SPAN Campaign Bus

By: Kayla Johnson

The C-SPAN Campaign Bus traveled up the East Coast and after stopping at five different colleges beginning in North Carolina. They made their last and final stop at The University of Scranton this past Friday afternoon.

The 45-foot tour bus traveled throughout many different states in order to teach high schools and colleges about the 2016 presidential election and give students an opportunity to expand their understanding of the campaign and the politics. The bus came complete with an interactive, touchscreen tech center.

Technology helped inform the students about the presidential elections, the road to the White House, the Electoral College map, candidate’s views on important issues, key states races and even social media buzz. The bus was packed with students either looking to apply for an internship at C-SPAN or learn more about the political race.

The staff members on the tour were ready for any and all questions about everything from the presidential candidates to the campaign tour.

Take a closer look at the inside of the C-SPAN bus on our Flickr page.

Learn more about C-SPAN here.

Scranton’s Got Talent Raises Funds for Diabetes

By: Robert Bauer

This past Saturday, Residence Life and The Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) co-sponsored a great Scranton’s Got Talent event. The event, which has been very popular and successful in the past, served to provide awareness for diabetes during Diabetes Awareness Month. Water bottles were labeled with a simple statistic about diabetes that reached an audience of about 300 guests. The audience enjoyed a night filled with great performances as well as educational information about diabetes. Guests  had the opportunity to contribute donations to the American Diabetes Association by voting with money toward their favorite performance.
Several students premiered their signature talents at the Late Night event. Performances included singing, dancing, art and even hula hooping. Audience members came in large groups to support their friends and enjoy the night. Faculty, staff and members of campus organizations were present. The back of the room was often filled with audience members putting money forward toward the American Diabetes Association and voting for their favorite performances.
After two hours of talent, the event raised more than $150 for the American Diabetes Association.