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November is on its Way, and so are the Elections

Even if you didn’t religiously watch the Republican and Democratic National Conventions over the past two weeks, I’m sure that you’ve at least had your Facebook News Feed blown up with sound bites, praise, and scorn for the two nominees. If you’re taking a Political Science or current events class this semester, expect your assignments to start revolving around this November’s pivotal election. One of the best parts about living in a community like Missoula and attending the University of Montana are all of the opportunities available on campus and around the state to expand your leadership skills and join the political process! Here are just a few of the best ways to get started.

1. Don’t ignore those silly pink bunnies on campus. Sure, it’s tempting to speed walk or look down at your phone to avoid the Forward Montana canvassers, but at the same time, it only takes a minute to make sure that all of your voter registration and absentee ballot information is up to date. Plus, you can talk to them for more information about getting involved with Forward Montana, a great local organization dedicated to training, mobilizing, and electing young people. Montana is such a small state, so your vote can really make a difference!
2. Join The UM Advocates. As a member myself, I can think of no better way to hone your leadership skills while at the same time making a ton of great friends. You may know the advocates as the first people you met in Missoula, either when we gave you and your family a campus tour or facilitated your freshman orientation (who can forget the excellent skit we put on every year?), but we do so much more than that. From working with alumni at various functions, putting on blood drives, and volunteering around the community, we are a busy bunch. Not to mention, we have a yearly spring retreat in an excellent, secret location each and every spring. If you’re interested in joining, applications are due by 5:00 on October 5th, and they’re available at the Source as well as enrollment services in the Lommasson. If you are accepted into our group, you will enroll in a leadership seminar through the Davidson Honors College this spring. Hope to see you there!
3. Take part in our student government: ASUM. If you care about having a voice on campus, there is no better way to assert yourself than by running for a position in ASUM. Even if you’re new to UM, you can still campaign this spring! One of ASUM’s primary responsibilities is to determine how money is spent on campus by allocating funds to student groups. Learn more about the application process at life.umt.edu/asum.
4. Join one of the many student groups on campus. If you haven’t joined even one of the diverse clubs UM offers, then now is the time to find out more about them. Whether it’s leadership oriented, like Model UN, or just plain fun, like Quidditch, there are more options than you can imagine to spice up your weeks in Missoula. Plus, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, think of it a great leadership opportunity beckoning: apply to form a new group through ASUM by January 31st!
5. Study Abroad. Adapting to a new culture is bound to teach you a lot about international politics. One of the programs that I’m looking at for myself right now is political science professor Paul Haber’s Mexico Summer Study Abroad program, a unique trip for UM students geared entirely toward this endeavor. Not only do you get to spend six weeks in the summer completely immersed in Mexican-United States relations courses, but you also have the opportunity to learn way more spanish than you ever have before. If this sounds like something that you’d like to know more about, contact Professor Haber at paul.haber@umontana.edu.

This is my first blog piece for HerCampus UM, and I look forward to write more for all of UM’s lovely ladies for the rest of this academic year. Keep all of those resolutions for straight A’s and a spotless apartment or residence hall this semester, and don’t forget that the more you involve yourself in the political process, the more right that you have to complain about it!

-Kaitlyn

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