NDVotes 2010, a forum designed to promote voter participation and engagement in the upcoming midterm elections, kicks off this evening with the first “Pizza, Pop and Politics” event. Sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns (CSC), along with College Democrats, College Republicans and College Libertarians, NDVotes 2010 is intended to increase political dialogue among students through a series of five discussions. “The ultimate objective of NDVotes is to encourage political involvement, regardless of party affiliation,” said Eileen Flanagan, College Democrats co-president. “We’re thrilled to be involved in an event that encourages bipartisanship.” Tuesday’s discussion will provide an initial overview of what is at stake in the 2010 midterm elections, Flanagan said. Several professors will be on hand to discuss issues that are especially relevant for voters and politicians this year, including Matthew Storin, professor of American studies; David Nickerson, professor of political science; and Jack Colwell, a writer and political analyst for the South Bend Tribune, as well as an American studies professor. College Republicans president Josh Varanelli said each “Pizza, Pop and Politics” event will have a different focus and also provide an opportunity for student dialogue. “It’s meant to give students a clear, balanced backdrop upon which to decipher their own viewpoints on the topics we see being fought over today,” he said. “Issues like health care, the economy and immigration, which are so relevant to our generation will be discussed.” Varanelli said College Republicans hopes more students will become involved in the realm of politics if they are given the opportunity to learn about today’s topics from an objective standpoint. The purpose of NDVotes is mainly to expose students to the key areas of contention that dominate politics, he said. “I think every group involved would just like to see a general increase in political awareness,” Varanelli said. “If NDVotes does nothing other than get students to understand the way politics affects them directly, and pushes them towards becoming more involved, it will have done its’ job well.” The first “Pizza, Pop, and Politics” is 5:30 p.m. today in the Geddes Hall Coffee House.
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