Chocolate & Politics

By
October 7, 2004

Mills students gathered at the art museum on Wednesday, Sept.
29, to eat chocolate, register to vote, and discuss what the most
important issues are for them this coming election. The event
called Chocolate and Politics drew approximately 30 to 40
students.

Museum director Stephan Jost hosted this event to encourage
people to register to vote and think of the upcoming election in
terms of the issues. “I think that sometimes we can think of things
as for Kerry, against Bush, or vice versa, and not about the
issues,” he said. “This will hopefully get people thinking about
issues critically.”

The event had an interactive exhibit that enabled people to
express important political issues, which created a dialogue among
students. Students covered two walls with their expressions and
feelings about their three most important issues written on
construction paper numbers. The majority of their issues were
centered on the war in Iraq, women’s rights, education, and the
environment.

The exhibition prompted a dialogue between freshwoman Joelle
Pough and sophomore Laura Arbios, who were concerned with education
and the welfare of teachers.

“I hated everyone in my school system. It revolved around money.
It’s a shame. A lot of teachers get paid below the poverty level,”
said Arbios.

Pough shared the same sentiment. “Basketball players are making
millions of dollars to play a game, while the people in charge of
our future make jack,” she said. “Education is the way that people
learn to live their lives. People don’t learn how to be aware of
the world around them and the effects on society,” said Pough.

Even though education is important to Pough, she said her number
one issue was the environment. “It is my most important issue
because I feel all the other issues [on the wall] have been going
on forever, and will continue to, but if we don’t do anything about
the environment it will ensure our annihilation only years away and
people are not aware,” she said. “We have become so complacent in
the fact that global warming is occurring. Within 90 years our
earth could die, the way that we are depleting our resources.”

For some people, such as junior Lilly-Marie Lamar, it was hard
to have just one number one issue. She had several: women’s and
reproductive rights, education, and same-sex marriage. “I think
it’s wrong for heterosexuals to exclusively claim the term of
marriage, to make it seem that their communion is more sacred than
other’s,” said Lamar, on why same-sex marriage was such an
important issue for her.

For other students, the event gave them a chance to have their
voices heard at the polls. Many people turned out to register to
vote, such as Charlotte Riggert, a freshwoman who recently turned
18 this September. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to
complain,” she said.

On Oct. 27 there will be a teach-in on campus on voter issue
awareness.


Chocolate & Politics was published on October 7, 2004 in Features

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