Student Association welcomes guest speakers from the League of Women Voters to discuss the importance of young voters


Student Association logo. Image obtained from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) met Wednesday, Oct. 5, to welcome guest speakers from the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse area (LWVLA) and to appoint the newest School of Education (SOE) senator.

Chris Haskell, a member of the LWVLA and Voter Services committee, started the presentation with some history of the league. The National League of Women’s voters began when women’s suffragists passed the amendment that granted women the right to vote just over 100 years ago.

“In La Crosse, our city, our League of Women’s Voters is 98 years old, so we have been at this a long time.” Haskell said, “Our mission is to empower voters and to defend democracy.”

Cindy Killion, a member of the LWVLA, joined the league when she moved to La Crosse after retiring from Winona University. Killion said, “What I used to tell my students is the least you can do as an American citizen is vote and have your voice heard, and get people elected that will represent you and not their own interests. That’s why I joined the league.”

Margie Hanson works on the social media team for the league in addition to being a member. She urged senators and the community to follow the LWVLA’s social media platforms – including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These platforms provide information on registering to vote, key dates and events, and information you need to know for the upcoming election.

Hanson said, “One of the league’s core values is that we are a non-partisan source for information; the league will never endorse a candidate or party. The information we give is unbiased.”

One of the LWVLA’s core tasks is diversifying its membership. Killion said, “We need more young people; we need more people from communities of color.” Killion continued, saying, “Maybe with your efforts, we can get a little more diversity going.”

The LWVLA started a new media campaign focusing on young voters and young potential voters, a different demographic than they have targeted in the past.

Haskell introduced a video PSA featuring Johnny and Jordan Davis, twins that played basketball at La Crosse Central Highschool and both went on to play at UW-Madison. In the video, the Davis brothers tell people to vote. Billboards around La Crosse, images on the digital signs around campus, and a promotion with the coffee shop MOKA are among the other ways LWVLA is promoting their league and telling young people to register and vote.

Killion informed SA of some resources available to further educate the population on who they are voting for. The Vote411 website and My Vote both provide information on what your voting ballot includes this coming November.

To close their presentation, Hanson said, “You guys are the biggest voting demographic, and if everyone in your age group votes, you will be the deciding voice in the upcoming elections, in November and beyond.”

The last day to register to vote online in Wisconsin is Oct. 19, and the election is on Nov. 8. You can register to vote in person on the day of the election at your subjective polling place. Volunteers are needed for the upcoming election, if interested contact La Crosse City Clerk, Nikki Elsen at [email protected].

In her officer report, Amelia Fortner, director of local affairs, informed SA of the off-campus housing fair event. The event will take place in the bluffs ballroom on the second floor of the Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 26.

In his adviser report to SA, Director Kyle Burke reminded everyone of an email the student body received from Chancellor Gow regarding the return of the Chancellor’s Volunteer Service Award, a program that helps engage students in volunteerism in the La Crosse community.

Director Burke also mentioned Free Speech Week is Oct. 17 through Oct. 23. For anyone interested, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is providing a training opportunity focusing on the importance of free speech; use this link to register via Canvas.

A resolution was passed to appoint the newest SOE senator, Maria Laurent. Senator Laurent’s tenure runs over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year.