On election night, piñatas were not the only thing being “busted” in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. Voting myths and misconceptions were busted as part of the inaugural Voter Fest.
Breanna Lizette Garcia, ’20, strung up multiple patriotic piñatas outside of the Lee and Sue O’Connor Idleman Production Wing. As part of the inaugural event, students gathered to bust open these pieces of papier-mâché — representative of inaccuracies surrounding voting.
The “myths” were busted, along with plenty of food and music, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 6. Garcia, along with Brian Hill, ’19 and Sam Ianiro, ’19, organized Voter Fest to celebrate the civic duty.
Different myths about voting were taped to four candy-filled piñatas. One read, “my vote doesn’t count.”
“We want to bust the myths out, get them out of America,” Garcia said. “Voting is important, and I think that the number one myth out there about voting is that your vote doesn’t matter, and that just makes no sense to me because the people who are voting are getting what they want in office. So if you care about who’s in office, you should vote for who you want.”
Another myth: College students have to vote where their parents live.
“A lot of the myths that we placed on the (piñatas) were things that we felt, as young people, were statements and ideas that are truths in our minds, but aren’t truths in reality,” Hill said. “Just by going out there and physically whacking the thing and knocking it down was just our metaphorical way of saying, ‘shatter the myths, your vote does matter. Your voice matters.’ ”
Ianiro was unable to attend the event, but Hill said organizing Voter Fest was a group effort between the three communication arts majors, a project they became invested in after starting a group assignment in their Video Activism class.
They were first assigned make a video about the upcoming election and then organized an out of class event, according to Garcia. She said the three classmates were passionate about the subject of youth voting and decided to arrange an event that was open to the entire Allegheny community.
The video, which was posted on Facebook and screened at the end of Voter Fest, featured Garcia, Hill and Ianiro having a discussion about the importance of voting, and what could be done to better encourage the younger generation to head to the polls.
They focused on transforming the civic duty into a more social act. Voting should be fun, talked about across party lines and something people look forward too. As Garcia said in the video: “Make voting lit again.”
“(Voting) should be something that you’re actually proud about,” Garcia said. “We really cared about making voting social again, which is why we had (Voter Fest).”
The organizers turned election night into a celebration — providing attendees with pizza, sparkling cider, cornhole. The Vuk production wing was transformed with red, white and blue balloons, streamers and American flags for all.
As the night progressed, the group encouraged attendees to head into the edit bay and watch the election results. A camera was also set up so students could record and share what voting means to them.
“(Voter Fest) really was unique,” said David Perez, ’19, who attended the event. “Millennials really have to get out there if we want to make a difference, and I think we’re the generation to do it.”
Karol Vargas, ’19, reiterated the uniqueness of Voter Fest and said there was plenty of fun and productive conversation amongst the students.
“This is something that we hope will continue on after this year,” Hill said. “We’re really pleased with the turnout, but for the coming years, we’d love to see (Voter Fest) get a lot larger, to see more people get involved, and for more people to actually go out and not only get involved with their party but to participate in politics in the most basic form of voting.”