Campus News News

Democracy Matters Encourages Participation

Pat Kenney
Campus News Editor



We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was established as the democratic legislature to lead and help the three branches of government. With rights originally only for rich white males, years of struggle and protests helped to shape the United States of America into the land of the free.
Democracy is defined as a government for the people, by the people. People have a say in how their country is ruled and who rules it. However, out of all of the democracies throughout the world, the U.S. has the lowest voter turnout, with about 53 percent of all Americans turning up to the polls.

Government affects everything we do, from student loans to education to food; it almost invisibly fits into our everyday lives. With government affecting so much, how can only 53 percent of the population vote?

Some may think that their votes do not matter or that the elections are predetermined. However, every vote matters and it is important that all citizens, especially students, show their support and utilize their rights.

“Students were critical during every social change throughout American history,” said Joan Mandle, the executive director of Democracy Matters. “Students recognize the problems better than most people and the problem is that [students] know so much that they are paralyzed in a way.

“People think that if they can’t change the whole thing, then why try at all.”

Democracy Matters was founded in 2001 by Adonal Foyle, former NBA center and eighth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. He founded the organization to give college students a voice in the pro-democracy movement and an active role in the national dialogue on money in politics.

Young people have an enormous power in society and can play a huge role in the government, if they participate.

“Social change takes small steps and doesn’t happen all at once,” Mandle said. “Government officials are particularly sensitive to young people because young people didn’t create the mess; they have the ideals about their futures.”

Organizations like Democracy Matters are not just created by people who sit and wait for change to happen. They are ideas that are morphed and shaped into practices by people who want to go out and be the change they wish to see.

Springfield College students Val Moisand and Amanda Upchurch are just those people. They are starting a Democracy Matters chapter here at Springfield College to spread political and democratic ideas throughout campus.

For more information about the Democracy Matters chapter on campus, Moisand and Upchurch can be reached at and

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