Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Graham Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both the student group Student Voices Count and independent organization Be Heard! TV held an open panel and discussion at the University Club at the University of Colorado leading up to the GOP debate. Keynote speakers included Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley and Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein.
Aaron Estevez-Miller, CU student and member of Student Voices Count, moderated the panel that began at 3 p.m. and concluded around 6 p.m. Estevez-Miller commented that this event began with “a couple of students who stood up for what [we] believe in.”
Originally formed to increase the amount of tickets available to the CU student body, Student Voices Count became an initiative to give students the chance to get involved. For most students, this is the first time that they are of age to be a part of the political process. Estevez-Miller said that being excluded from an event as significant as this “leaves a sour taste in our mouths.”
Although the motives and actions of Student Voices Count were strong, the project as a whole could not have been pulled off without Be Heard! TV. Estevez-Miller said that with the independent company’s help, they made “what we had as a passion into something we couldn’t do on our own.”
Be Heard! TV began about 10 years ago with the mission “to give [students] the voice with social impact,” said producer Christopher Tribble. Being connected with Student Voices Count through a mutual colleague, they were happy to “amplify the voices” of students, said Tribble. Impressed by the cooperation from CU as a whole, Tribble began the process of meeting the university’s requirements to stage the event three weeks prior.
With the debate finally in Boulder on Wednesday, Tribble and his crew began set up at 7 a.m. With four cameras, Skype on the panel stage, and a team live-tweeting and taking questions over Facebook, the production was a success.
Tribble hopes to carry this platform onto a national scale, traveling to different universities and giving students a voice in the political process. Companies such as this allow the millennials to change their public perception, allowing them to get involved in the world around them.
Spearheading that change was Student Voices Count by utilizing the opportunity that Be Heard! TV offered them. With the lack of tickets, the student group was hopeful that there would be a type of raffle, creating an equal opportunity for all. Many students felt excluded, just wanting the chance to get involved.
“At the end of the day these young people are reasonable,” said Estevez-Miller.
Although the student movement had hoped that candidates engaged more with students, they were “very happy with the end result,” said Estevez-Miller.
Overall, the goals of Student Voices Count and Be Heard! TV were accomplished, which was to provide a medium for students to get involved in the political process. Through the spreading of their message, the mentioning of the GOP debate is synonymous with the exclusion of the student body.