The midterm elections are quickly approaching, and Muhlenberg students are gearing up to cast their vote on Nov. 8. In advance of the upcoming voter registration deadline on Oct. 24, BergVotes hosted an Issues Expo, which “is a way for student organizations to present candidate stances on current event topics that students care about. BergVotes is hosting this event as a way to inform students so they can vote for the candidates that most align with their values,” shared BergVotes Vice President Ashley Paseltiner ‘23.
The first Issues Expo happened in 2016 in the lead-up to the presidential election, followed by the second one in 2018. Planning for the third Issues Expo commenced in the spring of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and was delayed until this fall, when it finally happened on Oct. 17.
Former BergVotes Presidents Kyle Ropski ‘22 and Ryan Abrams ‘23 were both able to attend the event and expressed their excitement that the Issues Expo was finally happening.
Ropski said, “Being an informed and educated voter is one of the most important parts of the democratic process. I am so thankful to BergVotes and Beth Halpern for their tireless efforts to make this event happen.”
“After years of discussion about the event, it’s exciting to see it come to life.”Ryan Abrams ’23
Members of various student organizations shared the reason why their group decided to have a table.
Harli Strauss-Cohn ‘24, Environmental Action Team (enACT) board member, shared “enACT had a table at the Issues Expo because we believe the environment, sustainability and justice needs to be considered in all avenues of life and voting. We were tabling on the candidates’ stances on the environment.”
Gabriella Oteri ‘23 shared, “The Feminist Collective decided to talk about education at our table. We take an intersectional approach in the work that we do. So, we went with education because we thought that there [were] a lot of important issues to cover related to our topic.”
Planned Parenthood Generation, a newer student organization, also had a table at the Issues Expo. Emily Orlich ‘24 shared the importance of this “especially after Roe v. Wade was overturned.” Orlich added, “Abortion access is really important because it’s a very divided issue in Pennsylvania, and this election will most likely determine whether or not you will be able to get abortions in Pennsylvania.”
BergVotes President Rebecca Salkin ‘24 shared, “Our goal is for students to walk out of the Event Space and know just a little bit more about the candidates and who they might vote for.”
This goal seems to have been achieved, and Muhlenberg students, particularly first-years, feel more prepared heading into November.
“Considering that Muhlenberg students come from several different states, I thought that the Expo was educational because we were able to learn about the political candidates of our new home, which I was previously completely oblivious [to],” shared Megan Hansen ‘26.
“Now, I can confidently vote in Pennsylvania.”Megan Hansen ’26
Sabeen Safi ‘26 echoed this sentiment, saying, “Seeing all the candidate’s stances on a variety of important issues really put into perspective why voting matters. It’s about choosing a voice that you want to speak for you and what you stand for. I am glad I went because confusing topics became easier to understand, helping me feel more confident in who I will be voting for this November.”