The Binghamton University chapter of student political activism group New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) rocked the vote Wednesday night with a voter registration concert featuring anti-fracking rock band Thousands of One.
Robert Kornblum, project coordinator for NYPIRG on campus and the NYPIRG Southern Tier hydrofracking coordinator, said they hosted the concert as a last-ditch effort to encourage students to register.
“The event is a last chance for students to register to vote two days before the deadline,” Kornblum said.
So far this year, 1,550 people have registered at the NYPIRG voter registration drives, significantly more than the 1,327 who registered in 2008.
“Despite what you heard about 2008’s record-setting involvement, we did even better this year,” Kornblum said.
Connor Daniel, president of the Binghamton University chapter of NYPIRG, said he was shocked by how many students registered.
“This is not just us pulling people over to register; students are genuinely interested,” said Daniel, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies.
The concert concluded NYPIRG’s general interest meeting, held in the Mandela Room. The meeting also featured keynote speaker Rebecca Webber, executive director of NYPIRG.
Webber said students have the power to influence the upcoming elections.
“There are too many of you, you can swing elections,” she said.
According to Webber, students need to rally together to tackle certain issues.
“The problem is it’s not so safe,” she exclaimed. “It’s not an easy fight. It’s student power versus industry.”
Daniel wanted the meeting to inspire students to take action.
“I want students to see that they can make a difference,” Daniel said. “NYPIRG is a big organization; the ball is rolling.”
Kornblum said he wanted student involvement to reach the point it was at during the 60s and 70s.
“We want to put the fun back into student activism,” he said.
Gina Taravella, a senior majoring in environmental studies who registered to vote through NYPIRG, said she found the general interest meeting helpful.
“I thought the GIM was very informative,” Taravella said.
Jessica Russo, a junior double-majoring in English and Italian, said she enjoyed the meeting as well as Webber’s talk.
“I got into it, and it made me want to be more active,” Russo said.
She said she enjoyed the concert as well.
“There wasn’t a humongous showing, but I did like the band’s soul/reggae style,” Russo wrote in an email. “I definitely felt the rhythm there.”
She added that she supports Thousand of One’s efforts to promote the anti-fracking movement.
“[I]t’s great that they use their talent to publicly take a stance against fracking, which is such an important justice issue,” Russo wrote.