On Wednesday May 8, Washington State Secretary of State Kim Wyman visited Bellevue College. Wyman has been visiting several colleges around Washington state, talking to students about how they can make their voice and vote heard in hope she inspires more students to become more engaging within their community.
Wyman’s presentation focused on encouraging students to follow what interests them and what they are passionate about. Her suggestion for students looking to become more involved with their community included volunteering for a nonprofit, engage with the city council or local school board where they can attend meetings and testify, going to the legislator or even working on a political campaign.
“My vote counts the exact same as yours does…they have the same power and they have the same influence and the same weight,” said Wyman. She went on to say, “What makes communities strong is having the diversity of all the people in the community being part of it.”
“One of the things that cause the raising of tuition and fees is because young people don’t vote…and young people don’t talk about their needs or the need for a more affordable higher education,” said Thuy Ngoc “Tweedy” Pham, the organizing director
of the Office of Student Legislative Affairs. “I am an international student, and I come from a country where freedom of speech is not as popular. I think as long as you have freedom of speech, you have the right to voice your opinion, and you have to use it. You don’t know how precious it is until you use it or you don’t have it.”
Wyman’s visit is part of College Civics Week, a series of forums and speeches sponsored by the OSLA. The week-long event occurred between May 6-10 and featured a students and faculty forum on higher education, a presentation from the Washington Student Association on student involvement in the capitol, a presentation from the Washington Bus (an advocacy organization) on organizing a voter registration drive and a forum on the current student loan crisis.