Simpson faculty members hosted the virtual #OneSimpson Election Preparation and Support event on Zoom last Thursday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m.
Vice President of Student Development Heidi Levine opened up the event; President Marsha Kelliher was initially supposed to kick off the event but was unable to due to an illness. Levine relayed a message from Kelliher in her place, stating:
“Thank you for joining us tonight. I voted this week, and it was wonderful to see so many students wearing their Simpson masks assisting with the process,” Kelliher said. “We’re especially proud of our Culver fellows and all that they do to promote civic engagement, which has contributed to Simpson being ranked number three on Washington Monthly’s ‘Best Colleges for Student Voting’ list. Making us one of the top schools in the nation for civic engagement.”
After the introduction, Elise Sturgeon, a junior Culver fellow, began a presentation on voting at Simpson in the 2020 election. Daniel Estrada, a senior Culver Fellow, took over the middle section of the presentation, and Executive Director of the Culver Center Seth Anderen closed it off.
The presentation covered voting by mail, early in-person voting, same-day registration, what to bring to your polling location, what to expect when waiting for election results, how states count votes (citing the infamous Florida Bush v. Gore incident and the 2020 Iowa Caucuses) and where to look for sources on election information.
Ellie Olson, Associate Dean for Counseling, Health & Leadership at Simpson and licensed psychologist at Simpson, spoke about how students on campus can seek support in an election that many deem as the most impactful and divisive.
“We are living in a period of significant uncertainty right now,” Olson said. “For many of us, I think the election is one more big thing in a sea of big things that are causing instability and insecurity.”
Olson shared a few anxiety and stress management tips to use during the days leading up to and during the election. She urges people to notice how they feel and give space to that feeling, find supportive others to process those feelings with, stay present, monitor social media and news intake, engage in self-care, and focus on what one can control.
“… self-care and tuning in and meeting our needs is what allows us to face challenges,” Olson said. “The only way we can face [election] anxiety and uncertainty is by taking care of ourselves.”
Olson also challenges viewers to consider redirecting their energy into action, especially if one is displeased with election results.
Levine promoted the Pre-Election Emotional Support session hosted by Olson and Chaplain Mara Bailey on Monday, Nov. 2, from 7:20 to 9:00 p.m. as a resource for students to come together and process their election fears or stressors.
Student Body President Elliot Meyer encouraged students to take advantage of their opportunities to vote, emphasizing how Gen Z is the largest voting block and most diverse generation in American history.
“We have the potential to change the direction of this nation for decades to come,” Meyer said. “That all begins with your vote.”
Bailey closed the event off by offering up ideas on how the Simpson community can continue to operate as a community.
“The things that we agree upon, that we will uphold regardless of the outcome of this election, regardless of whether the world around us is one thing…we are Simpson, and we are committed to certain values,” Bailey said. “In order to move forward as a unified community and in order to celebrate the diversity that we claim, we have to listen to one another.”
You can view a recording of the event on the Political Science at Simpson College Facebook page.