Over the past week, it has been impossible to walk through the Quad without seeing the sidewalk chalk self-promotions and eye-popping flyers strung to tree branches. We’ve been bombarded with platforms and promises, names and faces, handshakes and pancakes. Indeed, the whole process has been quite overwhelming, but come next week, it will all be a distant memory.

The other day, I overheard a conversation between two FH residents who were discussing how difficult this particular election is compared to the student government elections from high school. One noted, “How are we supposed to pick ONE leader at a school where EVERYONE is a leader?” This is an excellent point, and one that is cause for a great deal of contemplation. Nevertheless, our time for consideration is limited as the voting closes this Friday.

There are two important lessons we should all keep in mind this week. First and foremost, it is vitally important to exercise your right to vote. Do not think of it as an imposition or a waste of time. As annoying as the ocean of campaign signs and constant Facebook notifications from candidates might be, at the end of the day, the outcome of the election lies in the hands of the voters. It is not only a right but a responsibility to make your voice heard. This also applies to the United States Presidential Election in November, which for most of us represents the first opportunity to exercise our civic duty in voting for our country’s leader. When you cast your vote in an election, you are not simply voting for a candidate but for yourself, your beliefs, your desires and your future. Take a stand, do your part and vote.

The second lesson is equally crucial. As mentioned earlier, Penn is a school full of leaders. Every candidate, just by taking the initiative to campaign, has demonstrated their leadership abilities. In many ways, the outcome of the election is irrelevant because each and every one of the candidates would do an outstanding job in their respective position. The roles for which they are running are all centered around the continuation of and contribution to Penn traditions. That being said, the election is rather ironic because as Penn students, that role is one we are all called to fill. When the admissions committee put a stamp of approval on our applications last year, they selected each of us to join, refresh and enhance the Penn community and its traditions. The elected officials will have tremendous responsibilities, but they will serve primarily as facilitators, enabling each of us to take part in and influence Penn traditions ourselves. Long after the posters are blown off by autumn winds and the sidewalk chalk washed away by October rains, the impact we have on this institution will resonate, regardless of what titles or positions we hold.

Now is the time. Seize it. Make every second count. Contribute. Vote. Do. Live. (How’s that for a campaign slogan?)

*Do your part. Go to, click on “Vote Now!”, and cast your vote!

(imgae by Alan Cleaver, used under a Creative Commons license)
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