November 6th is right around the corner and this year’s ballot has everyone buzzing. Her Campus spoke with fourth year political science major Celina Avalos on her involvement in BruinsVOTE! and the importance of young people to get out the vote! BruinsVOTE is a nonpartisan organization that helps students get registered to vote.
HC: What exactly is BruinsVOTE! and what is your role in the organization?
CA: BruinsVOTE! is a non-partisan organization at UCLA aiming to increase civic and voter engagement on campus. I serve as a Director for this years BruinsVOTE! Coalition. My main goals are centered on registering people to vote, but more specifically, insuring that they turnout to vote. I’ve done so by working on getting out the vote efforts, creating/organizing events that encourage students to become civically engaged as they partake in the electoral process.
HC: What is the most challenging aspect/issues facing young voters today?
CA: The most challenging issue facing young voters today varies by student, but I will say that we can all agree that we all want affordable housing (especially in LA) & affordable education — students shouldn’t have to choose whether they pay their next bill or their next meal.
One of the most challenging things when it comes to encouraging young voters to vote is that they feel like their voice/vote doesn’t matter. And I agree. Sometimes it feels as though my voice is silenced by laws and policies that are enacted by the current administration. However, this should be the reason WHY students should vote. Voter apathy has no room in these upcoming elections.
Her Campus: Besides BruinsVOTE! , what are some of your passions and other campus organizations that you’re involved in?
Celina Avalos: My passion is advocating for equitable policies for underserved communities. I’m involved in advocacy work in and outside of UCLA as I serve as a Fellow for Young People For — a national organization focused on social justice and activism. I also serve as a Policy Fellow for UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative — the first ever Latino think tank that addresses the most critical issues facing Latinos & other communities of color.
HC: What advice do you have for those wanting to get involved in organizations like BruinsVOTE!?
CA: Don’t be afraid to join. Sometimes it’s difficult committing yourself to something, especially when UCLA has hundreds of clubs on campus, but doing the work for BruinsVOTE! since it’s relaunch in 2016, I’ve seen the difference we’ve made first-hand. BruinsVOTE! has shown me that we can make a big difference — whether it’d be at the local, state or federal level. If you’re a change maker, orgs like BruinsVOTE! will only reaffirm your passion for making a difference in the world; we are the change that we seek.
HC: How can students get more information about the issues in this year’s election?
CA: BruinsVOTE! has worked diligently with UCLA Student Affairs to create a website called “bruinsvote.ucla.edu” where students can get information on propositions that will be on the ballot and also informs students where they can vote on campus. They can also follow us on FB or on IG to stay up to date on what will be happening on Election Day.