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The 10 Most Electric Campuses to Be on this Election Year


The 2012 elections will be here before you know it and on some college campuses, political fervor is already getting ramped up and ready. The elections in 2008 brought out the third-highest showing of student voters of all time, nearly 22 million, and campaigners are hoping to motivate students to take advantage of their right to vote again this year. No matter what political party you're rooting for, the 2012 elections are bound to be intense, and there may be few better places for students to watch the debate, share their support, and get out the vote than on these politically-charged campuses. Read on to find out where students are most amped up for the elections, getting into activism, and showing their political savvy as much as they can.

  1. Georgetown University

    Georgetown is widely considered to be one of the most (if not the most) political campuses in the U.S., so it will undoubtedly be an interesting place come this fall. In late 2011, election fever began revving up on Georgetown's campus, starting with an event in November that introduced students to the candidates and let them meet with the directors of the Republican and Democratic National Committees. Students could ask questions, learn more about the election process, and join in a lively discussion about the upcoming elections and the candidates that might be on the ballot. Due to its proximity to D.C., students at Georgetown can expect things to get pretty heated in the coming months, with student reps from all political parties campaigning for votes on campus.

  2. University of Iowa

    Iowa has been at the center of much political debate over the past few months as Republicans battled it out in the Iowa caucus, attempting to lay out their political platforms and showcase why each would be the best candidate for the job. While the caucuses are over, Iowa hasn't fallen off the political radar and students at the University of Iowa can expect political fervor to increase over the next few months. U of Iowa has already seen visits from potential candidates over the past few months, including Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, and pundits predict that the state is likely to remain a political battleground throughout the 2012 elections. With voters being divided pretty evenly between the political parties in Iowa, you can bet that campaigners won't ignore the state as they push for votes, and the university, with its population of young and first-time voters, will be a special place of interest to candidates from all parties.

  3. George Washington University

    George Washington University is no stranger to lists ranking it among the most politically-active college campuses in the United States, so it should be no surprise that many students (and faculty members, for that matter) are getting pumped up about this year's coming elections. Elections are considered school holidays at the highly political GWU, and students will be out en masse campaigning for the candidate of their choice come Nov. 2. Students report that political campaigns are already getting underway on campus and that many groups are planning trips to key states for primary and general elections to make sure that student voices are heard.

  4. University of California-Davis

    You'd have to be living under a rock not to have seen the images of the Occupy protests that rocked the UC Davis campus this fall, making national news for the brutality shown to student protesters. While the protests may have died down, political interest and disenchantment with the current system certainly haven't. While students report that political campaigning on the campus has been pretty low-key so far, with the 2012 elections only months away, that's likely to change soon. Campus groups like the Student Republicans and Student Democrats will be looking to find new voters, potentially those inspired by the events that took place on campus last fall to take action and participate in the political process.

  5. Cornell University

    Students at Cornell have been getting ready for the 2012 elections since March 2011 when the Cornell University Students for Mitt Romney club started promoting the potential Republican candidate. Other student groups like the Cornell Democrats focused on recruitment and increasing political awareness across campus. With so much interest so early, Cornell is likely to be awash with political talk as the election draws ever closer.

  6. New College of Florida

    Named as one of the most political colleges in the U.S., students at the New College of Florida are no strangers to election talk. In fact, if you check out the New College of Florida blog, you'll see just how political the school can be, with loads of information on activism, political events, and upcoming election news both at the national and state levels. As one of the controversial swing states, Florida will be a major battle ground for candidates from both parties hoping to sway voters one way or the other, especially students, many of whom may be first time voters. A major issue on campus as of late has been the state's decision to move up their primary vote, hoping to give them more of a say in who will be the Republican candidate this year, but a move many students and professors at the school think might be a risky one.

  7. University of Nevada-Las Vegas

    While you might associate Nevada more closely with casinos than politics, the state does have a major role to play in the upcoming elections. Students at the University of Nevada will undoubtedly see a heated political battle in the state develop throughout this year, as many debate over who to vote for in this year's elections. Early polls put Obama as the favorite overall and as of December, Romney was leading for the favorite among Republican candidates, but the numbers are strikingly close, which will make for an interesting battle as student groups campaign on campus throughout 2012. Professors at the school are also predicting that minority votes could play a major role on deciding which party wins the state (and the primaries), so students on campus could see some special attention payed to these communities on campus and off.

  8. The Ohio State University

    Ohio is another pivotal swing state, with a margin of less than 6% separating the candidates in the last election. As a swing state, Ohio can expect to see special attention from all the candidates this year, and some may even appear in person on OSU's campus to talk to students and share insights into their political platforms. The state is particularly divided this year as unions and conservative activists battle over key benefits and rights for public workers and struggle to agree on a redistricting plan that suits both political parties. Political pundits are expecting Ohio to be a hard-fought state this year, and students on campus can expect to see political student groups out in full force over the next 10 months, recruiting students and registering them to vote.

  9. University of Chicago

    The U of Chicago is known for being a pretty political school, though it may be pretty liberal in its leanings, as it is the former employer of current president Barack Obama (and in a decidedly blue state and city). That doesn't mean that school isn't getting attention from both sides, however. In January of this year, an election panel convened at the school's International House to discuss a variety of important issues in this year's presidential race. Panel members included former Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos, political analyst David Brooks, Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, and MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow. This is the first in a series of discussions that will take place in the school's new Institute of Politics, and politically-minded students can expect some great debate and education to take place on campus over the coming months.

  10. Yale University

    Yale has an incredibly active political community, participants in which are already getting pretty excited for the upcoming elections. Prior to the recent State of the Union address, the Yale College Democrats hosted a 2012 Election Kickoff, laying out their plans for helping the president win another term, registering students to vote, and spreading their message on campus. On the other side, the Yale College Republicans will be kicking off their campaigning in February, with a party that students can attend to learn about their own campaigning events in Connecticut and around the country. With numerous experts in political science and economics working at the school, students can expect to hear predictions and insights from professors both at on-campus events and in the news. With events already ramping up, students should expect to see a lot of political fervor on campus and in the surrounding community as the elections get closer.

February 8th, 2012 written by Staff Writers

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