Jillian Smith | Editor-in-Chief
On Feb. 18, the Society of Afrikan American Culture brought students together to look back on Barack Obama’s presidency while also looking forward to the upcoming presidential elections.
The event was hosted by Malik Zeigler, a sophomore studying political science, Malik Hines, also a sophomore studying political science and Cecile Sadler, a sophomore studying computer engineering. The three students and executive board members of SAAC came up with the idea to honor President Obama and inform students on the upcoming elections at a general meeting a few weeks ago.
The event began with a quick biography of Barack Obama and what he accomplished during his presidency. There was an even balance of platform promises kept and platform promises broken that showed what President Obama has accomplished over the past seven years.
“We wanted to make sure that it was balanced,” said Zeigler. Hines added that they wanted the section of the presentation on Obama to be as nonpartisan as possible.
“Effort makes them effective,” said Hines.
The next portion of the event focused on the voting process, revealing many little known facts about primaries, caucuses, the electoral college and winner-take-all states. These were parts of the voting system that many students either do not know about, or they do not understand how it works.
“I remember in my American government class, Dr. Michael Cobb did a Pack Poll asking students if they could still register to vote in Talley, and a lot of the kids still didn’t know that you couldn’t. I think NC State students are informed, but they aren’t informed in the right ways,” said Zeigler.
Sadler also believes that there are not enough events like this on campus for student to become properly informed. That is why this was so important for SAAC. It was a way to teach students information that they might only learn in a political science class in a fun, informal setting.
“As an engineering major who knows not minimal, but barely anything about how politics work, I thought there have to be more people like me who need to know this information,” said Sadler.
Zeigler reviewed the candidates for the 2016 presidential election after Hines talked about Obama, revealing some of the platforms and ideals of these candidates that have not been as widely discussed in the media.
The entire room was then invited to play Kahoot!, an interactive game that students connected to through their phones. They were asked questions pertaining to statements made by various presidential candidates.
“I thought it was necessary to get a look at the real views of the candidates rather than what the media says,” said Zeigler.
Lastly, students graded a survey that they were given at the start of the event that showed how liberal or conservative their personal views were. This survey was used as a way to show attendees that they can have a wide variety of opinions that fall in different places on the political spectrum.
“We wanted to get people to think outside of the box of democratic versus republican or liberal versus conservative. Your views can askew from everyone’s in the room even if you have similar political views,” Hines said.
At the end of the event, students had the opportunity to register to vote with the organization.This ws an important and well-emphasized point of the presentation: get out and vote.
“Whether or not people consciously learned something, it got their brains thinking,” said Sadler.
The main message Zeigler, Hines and Sadler wanted to express to students is the importance of doing research and making an educated contribution to society. As we say farewell to our first Black president, we do not want to see the hope he has given the Black community fade.
Suffrage is something our people fought for not too long ago, now it is our duty to take advantage of that right to shape our own futures and change the face of this nation.