This past week, Binghamton University’s Student Association (SA) held the “most diverse” voting registration fair in campus history.

Seven organizations participated in the Voter Registration Fair, including the SA, Asian Student Union (ASU), Latin American Student Union (LASU), Hindu Student Council (HSC), Indian International Student Union (IISU), Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) and the African Student Organization (ASO). The event, held in the Mandela Room, was scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. but ended at 2:30 p.m. due to an immediate turnout of over 300 students.

Historically, the event has been hosted independently by the ASU. George Lee, senior advisor to the vice president of student success (VPSS), political co-chair of ASU and a junior majoring in financial economics, said this is the first year multiple organizations have worked together to create the fair.

According to Lee, the decision was made along with Luca Cassidy, chief of staff for the VPSS and a sophomore majoring in sociology.

“Traditionally, we have an annual voter registration event named Ramen and Registration,” Lee said. “From there, I personally decided to change it to Boba and Ballots. However, after further conversations with [Cassidy], we decided to make it a larger multicultural event because that’s one of my missions as community and political engagement chair for the ASU. I wanted to have more interaction between all the cultural groups here at [BU]. From there, we reached out to a bunch of different organizations. In addition, this year we added a ‘pledging to vote’ aspect.”

Through the event, organizers aimed to register as many students as possible to vote, and to highlight the importance of voting — especially within marginalized groups. There were seven tables at this event, each designated to a different organization, where students could register and pledge to vote in the upcoming midterm election. Food and drinks were also provided by participating organizations, with an additional sponsor, Monster Energy, donating $3,000 worth of energy drinks.

Anindya Debnath, the VPSS and a sophomore double-majoring in political science and economics, helped coordinate the event. Debnath explained how the fair was planned.

“The idea for the event was first brought up by [Lee], who in conjunction with [Cassidy] led efforts to bring this event to life,” Debnath wrote in an email. “We began planning this event in the summer to ensure we were effective in our mission of registering students to vote, so it was definitely a long time in the making to get this voter registration drive off the ground. Nevertheless, this event never would’ve been possible without the support of our co-hosts of this event.”

A major goal of the event was to motivate students to be civically engaged and see the importance of local elections, according to Cassidy.

“I was seeing a lot of disinformation about voting and how people were saying it didn’t matter,” Cassidy said. “This congressional race may determine if the Democrats control the [House of Representatives] or if the Republicans control the house. A big determiner of who wins is the students, so we wanted to make sure students realized that and were engaged. To be part of something so monumental is important. We want to increase our voter registration within our marginalized communities so that minorities have more of a say in a community they are a part of for at least four years.”

According to Lee, white and Asian students were the largest demographics in attendance at the event. After the event ended, Lee expressed a desire to work closer with more multicultural organizations in the future.

“It’s important to vote, especially [for] Black, Indigenous and people of color, because they’re unrepresented and have the lowest registration rates in the United States,” Lee wrote. “With voting comes power.”