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Penn State Old Main
Penn State Old Main
Original photo by Emma Wesolowski

Please Vote — Get Out To Vote Bus Tour

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

On the night of Nov. 2, Pennsylvania Democrats held an event outside of Old Main. The purpose was to encourage people from the community and from Penn State to get more excited about the democratic candidates for the upcoming election and to encourage them to get out and vote.

The speakers included local political leaders that stressed the importance of voting in local elections. John Fetterman, who is running for to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate, Josh Shapiro and his running-mate Austin Davis for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania respectively, were in attendance.

This event was political in nature. With the midterms so soon, Pennsylvania has become a political hotspot and State College is no exception.

This was an interesting event to cover, especially off the heels of Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes getting cancelled last minute not too long ago. With this event on the other side of the political spectrum, it was set to be an interesting night.

I arrived at Old Main at 5:05 p.m. for the 5:45 p.m. event and there were already about 50 people sitting around, waiting for the event. There was a shocking amount of non-college age people around.

There were grandparents talking to college kids and explaining the importance of voting, families with young children— this one couple had their three young daughters with them and in between corralling them, the daughters accepted signs to hold during the event.

This was a really touching aspect for me. I remember going into the voting booth with my mom for the 2016 election; it was the last presidential election I would not be eligible to vote in, and she wanted me to see the voting booth.

She wanted me to feel the importance of that moment and watch the election results so I could understand that every single vote matters. I love that this was an event that families felt comfortable going to because it is so important to teach children from a young age how important voting is.

I standing next to someone else reporting, a high schooler in State College. She writes for the school newspaper and her teacher wanted her to cover the event. She said it felt awkward to be there, since she felt like she was the only high schooler, but she was excited about the event. It was a welcoming environment for all ages. 

Something else that stood out was how friendly everyone was. There were so many hugs, excited voices and smiles. Student volunteers were going around and offering buttons and posters and asking people to sign up to canvas.

The audience happily engaged in conversation with them, even if they had no interest in going out to canvas. I saw five police officers there, and they were smiling most of the time and had relaxed body language.

The closest I experienced to “violence” was when a teacher from a Centre County elementary school who used hand movements to speak brushed up against my arm— she apologized profusely and then we went on with our lives. 

Like any good speakers event, there were multiple personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout the night. Paul Takac, who is running for the 82nd district of Pennsylvania, spoke about how his parent’s generation fought for LGBTQ and healthcare rights. His generation expanded those rights, and we are once again fighting for those same rights. 

After Takac shared his story, Austin Davis, John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro came out with their wives. This was not a shocking choice, as bringing a spouse’s candidate is a move commonly made to humanize the candidate, but it was still impactful to see the spouses supporting their partners. 

Davis spoke about how his father was a bus driver and his mother a hairdresser. He is a first-generation college graduate, and if he wins he will become Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor. He spoke about how he has never turned away from hard work, and that will not change should he win the election.

Fetterman made quite a few jokes throughout his time up at the podium and was not afraid to crack one at his own expense. He stated that he knew he was stumbling over his words and not always saying the right ones at this event, but he will make sure every bill is right should he be the 51st Democrat vote in the senate.

Fetterman suffered a stroke around five months ago, which has resulted in some side effects such as difficult with his speech patterns. I suffered a concussion in tenth grade and my brain worked perfectly fine, but I struggled with spitting the right words out. I know I would not have had the courage to speak in such a public forum when I was still struggling with that, let alone joke about it.

Shapiro wrapped up the night and made a few more jokes, like how he did not have red wine at a tailgate this weekend, like Dr. Oz, but he did beat students at the bean bag game at his tailgate. Shapiro also brought up his children, how much they mean to him and how much he worries about their future. 

Politics becomes so inhumane with fear mongering commercials I am sure we are all tired of at this point. This was a great opportunity to see these candidates as real people on our college campus. 

The big, overwhelming message from this night was to vote. Get out and vote and encourage your friends to do so too. This election is going to shape the state of Pennsylvania, where we all go to school, for the next four years. It is crucial to make your voice heard in this upcoming election. 

You have to appreciate Josh Shapiro’s social media team.
Madeline (she/her) is a second-year at Penn State studying Psychology and Labor and Human Resources from Bangor, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she’s either reading or taking photos.