With the Republican primary election process in full swing, politically aware students around campus are taking note of the candidates. Student groups like the Knox Democrats are holding viewing sessions for students in Post lobby in order to spread awareness.
Freshman Frank Foster-Bolton, who identifies with the Democratic Party, chose to attend the Bloomberg debate screening because he was interested in learning more about President Obama’s possible opposing candidates.
“I wanted to know more about Herman Cain. I had heard about the attention he was drawing from the right, but I didn’t know anything about him. I wanted to see how they acted more than what their policy ideas were. I wanted to see who looked like he could be president,” Bolton said.
Freshman Dan Bloethe, who also considers himself a Democrat, chose to attend for a different reason.
“I went because I wanted to see how the Republicans would elaborate on what they would do about the economy. They had been challenging Obama’s job legislation, and I wanted to see their alternatives,” Bloethe said.
Political awareness in general seems to be growing on campus, especially with the rise of the Occupy movement, which many students have chosen to support. However, it is still a choice and dedication that individuals must make.
“I think that the Occupy movement has made students think about politics more, but it’s still a commitment that people have to make on their own,” Bloethe said.
Conservative students on campus also support the opening up of political discussion.
“I love engaging in conversation in people, because it’s usually a good back and forth between people who have developed ideas on their own and then aligned themselves with a political party.”
However, no candidate has appeared to take the lead among student support.
“The person who seems to be making the most news right now seems to be Herman Cain. But I think that if they looked at his policies, students would really identify with Ron Paul. Because he’s a libertarian, he’s all about being able to take care of yourself and his policies reflect that. I agree with him on most things except for his foreign policy,” senior Karl Bair said.
The purpose of opening discourse between students is primarily focused around building an understanding for oneself.
“I think that most people get their political information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; this just serves to influence instead of inform,” Bair said.