News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    August 25, 2004      File #
    Contact: Jean Wasp, Media Relations Coordinator, (707) 664-2057


"It Matters" Explores the Vast Implications of Voting and Not Voting in Fall SSU Series

A compelling program designed to provide students and the community an opportunity to explore together the vast notion of voting, civic engagement, and what it means to live in a democratic society is slated during the fall semester at Sonoma State University.

"Young people have the lowest voter turnout rate of any major demographic group in the nation, regardless of race, gender, or class," says SSU history professor Stephanie Dyer. "The existing political process is clearly deficient in reaching out to young people and making them feel that their interests matter. A program such as this can make a difference."

This unique and timely collaborative program is called "It Matters! Engage. Participate. Vote." and features art exhibitions, keynote speakers, brown bag discussions, performances, class projects, workshops, and various multimedia displays.

A four-day kickoff celebration begins Wednesday, Sept. 8 and runs through Sept 11. Other events will occur throughout the month and can be found at

SSU student body president Jason Spencer says " if we do not ensure the leaders elected today reflect our values and vision for America, we will be living our adult lives in a nation driven by an agenda of values that do not reflect who we are and what we want our country to be."

Highlights of upcoming "It Matters" events includes:

Wednesday, Sept. 8, noon - "Why It Matters" a brown bag discussion moderated by Provost Eduardo Ochoa and featuring SSU President Ruben Armiñana, political science professor Catherine Nelson and Associated Students President Jason Spencer.

Thursday, Sept. 9, 9 p.m. - Comedian Will Durst will be performing in Evert B. Person Theater. One of America's top political satirist, Durst has performed at events featuring former Vice President Al Gore and former President George H.W. Bush, and has spoken at the Governors Conference and the Mayors Convention.

Friday, Sept. 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m. - Lowell Darling Darling's exhibition "Lowell Darling: Artist or Politician?" will be on display Aug. 16 through Oct. 13 in the University Library Art Gallery. A reception for the artist is scheduled in the University Library from 5:30-8:30 p.m. with Q & A at 7 p.m. Darling has a master's degree in art from Southern Illinois University and has spent the last 35-years contributing pro-bono political action. He has worked to lace up the San Andreas Fault and to nail down several cities that were in danger of flying into space due to population pressure, and to end drought by performing urban acupuncture. Darling has been featured in Time, New West, The Village Voice, and numerous art magazines.

Saturday, Sept. 11, 2 p.m. - Students will have the opportunity to get informed, get registered, and get entertained at the Voter Extravaganza outdoor festival on the lawn at the Evert B. Person Theater. JUMP, Associated Students, ASP, Sonoma Student Union, Residential Life, and the Scene sponsor this student-organized event.

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m. - Keynote Speaker: "The Future of American Democracy: A Former US Congressman's Unconventional Analysis" presented by scholar, author and former U.S. Congressman, Glen Browder.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 1:30 p.m. - Keynote Speaker: "From the Front Lines: Stories of Political Reporting" presented by Belva Davis, Pete Golis and friends.

Friday, Oct. 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m. - Reception and opening in the University Art Gallery of a student-curated exhibit of student work interpreting democracy.

For more information, contact Karen Brodsky, University Library, at (707) 664-4240.


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Last Modified: 08/25/2004