Democracy Matters has joined with various student groups, political representatives and professors to encourage students to be more politically active and knowledgeable about their rights.
The Secular Student Alliance, the Food Co-op, the Equality Project and S.A.L.L.E. are all sponsoring a student empowerment rally from noon to 4 p.m. this Friday on the west patio outside M&T Bank, according to Mike Iannelli, co-president of Democracy Matters.
New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo of the 126th district, which encompasses Binghamton University, is set to speak at the rally. Professor Charles Goodman of the philosophy department and Taylor Arluck, a junior double-majoring in financial economics and philosophy, politics and law, will also speak.
Democracy Matters’ slogan is “Big Money Out, People Back In.” Club Co-President Zoe Davis-Chanin said this rally directly speaks to the main objectives of her group.
“We are trying to decrease the influence of powerful corporations on our politicians, while simultaneously re-engaging the electorate to take back our government,” she said. “The rally is mainly focused on this latter effort, although the assemblywoman will talk about campaign finance reform.”
Following the speakers, there will be an open forum for people to add their voices, according to Davis-Chanin. She is hopeful that there will be a stage for speakers, as well as tabling available for student groups.
Iannelli said the rally’s purpose is multi-faceted.
“The purpose of the rally is to educate and empower the student body,” he wrote in an email. “The rally is also a show of support for the large push there currently is to get public financing of elections passed into law in New York state.”
The rally will also include discussions about issues such as public financing and how it affects students.
“If we want our government to be accountable and work for our interests as citizens, then we as a society cannot stay apathetic or disengaged when it comes to political issues,” Iannelli wrote.
Eric Marinelli, a member of Democracy Matters and a freshman majoring in economics, said another purpose of the event is to raise awareness about big money in politics.
“We want to empower students so that they have voice and so their voice isn’t drowned out by the lobbying dollars of large corporations,” Marinelli said.
The band Phoenix and The Ravens is tentatively scheduled to perform, but has not been confirmed yet, Iannelli said.
Davis-Chanin said that New York Students Rising will distribute information and speak about students’ rights during the event.
“[They’ll] be talking about student debt and student rights and the way big student loan companies and textbook companies undermine our rights,” she said.