The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Staff Editorial: 'The time to practice your impact is now'

This election is about "change." But during the 2008 presidential campaign this word has lost its impact. We on the University of Richmond campus have to find faith once again in "change" by voting on Nov. 4. When you vote, you will not only be voting for the next leader of our country, but you will be voting for senators, mayors, laws and other local ordinances. Especially for people who have registered in Virginia, we have laid out the ballot, its questions and information on each of the senatorial and mayoral candidates. We hope you take the information to make an impact on the local community for which you are a part.

On the national level, both Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain will bring change. The first candidate has emerged with a message of change and brought people into politics who have never participated in the past. The second has brought a message of change within the GOP with his experience and history of reaching out to opposing viewpoints.

At The Collegian, covering this election has been an exercise in persistence. A police officer denied our online managing editor, Kimberly Leonard, access to an Obama campaign event in Chesterfield. Instead of packing up and leaving, she snuck around through the bushes to sit in the front row and write the story. Reporter Michael Gaynor drove two hours to attend a McCain rally in Prince William County, giving up his weekend to hang out with rural Virginians and a Sarah Palin look-alike. Reporter David Larter skipped his French class and talked his way into the press area to cover a second Obama rally. Photographer Jeff Bardsley ditched his schoolwork to cover the rally, and came back with some of the best pictures we've seen of the campaign. The entire Collegian team -- the copy editors, the online team, the reporters, the photographers -- has lost a lot of sleep and endured a lot of stress to offer students the best political coverage in the city of Richmond.

Even students outside The Collegian staff have been involved. Commentators on both sides have blogged their thoughts about the campaign on our Web site and inserted their comments into our live-blogs during the debates.

Toward the end of this race both presidential candidates ran the word "change" into the ground. Now it's time to think about what the word means to our community.

Our campus is undergoing some changes of its own. Our community has responded to several events that prompted students to express their outrage and hurt. Students from all viewpoints are energized and expressing it in both public and private arenas. If students want to have a voice in any forward movement, they need to make it heard by attending and speaking up at forums, by submitting opinion columns to The Collegian and by talking to student and faculty leaders.

We will be known as Richmond Spiders for the rest of our lives. This identity will mean something wherever you go. But it will become more important to realize that your impact on the national level means just as much as the impact you have on your neighbors, friends, family and community members. The time to practice that is now. By taking the time to think beyond just answering the presidential questions posed on the ballot, you will acknowledge that your future is tied in with everybody else in your community. If you aren't registered in Virginia, look up the ballot questions to get informed on the local elected officials and ordinances.

We have gotten out of bed early and stayed up until 5 a.m., writing and editing stories to get credible, balanced information to students here on campus. This election edition is a sum of all our work and passion to make sure you are engaged and informed.

President Edward Ayers began his presidency by asking students what they wanted the University of Richmond to be known for. Before you go into the voting booth on Nov. 4, read through our issue charts, read the articles covering the rallies, hear what the candidates had to say and check out their Web sites. Before you hit the touch screen, ask yourself, "What do I want my country to be known for?" and think about which candidate will envision that change.

Mark Warner, one of the senatorial candidates in Virginia, said something interesting at the Obama rally in downtown Richmond on Oct. 22.

"Politicians will always tell you that this is the most important election in years," he said. "This time, they're telling the truth"

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