By Nicholas Astor*
Welcome back, everyone! It has been a long road but I’m looking forward to in-person classes. I write to alert you to a rare opportunity to effect change on the local level.
We’ve all chosen to come to Purchase for a variety of reasons, but of those reasons, the diversity of its students and its culture of open-mindedness are things I know we all value. Ideally, the surrounding community should share these values.
As students, we may eat at The Cobble Stone or frequent other off-campus businesses. Likewise, people from off-campus can come on campus to visit the Neuberger Museum or the Performing Arts Center. We should feel as welcome off-campus as we do on campus.
At a time when democracy itself is under attack, students have shown that they can make a difference at all levels of government by fighting back. When a town that has been controlled by conservative Republicans votes Democratic, it sends a strong message that people reject the ideals of Trump and his devoted supporters.
SUNY Purchase is situated in just such a town: Harrison. After ten years in office, the Republican mayor of Harrison is retiring, which presents an opportunity for a new beginning.
When it comes to this local election, it’s important that the voices of Purchase students be heard. We must think globally but act locally because real change starts at the grassroots level. That’s why I’m urging you to vote for the Democratic ticket of Frank Gordon for mayor, and Rachel Berkey and Adam Weiner for Town Board. These three candidates, through their Moving Harrison Forward campaign, have pledged to create a more inclusive government that will protect the voices of residents in the minority.
Frank has been a frequent visitor to campus since he was elected to the town board four years ago. In an effort to empower us, he has spoken with thousands of Purchase students, encouraging us to get more involved in important causes such as voting rights and town government.
The Moving Harrison Forward team rejects the blatant prejudice and divisive politics of Trump. Your vote for Frank, Rachel and Adam, and their fellow Democratic candidates is a vote for earnest and compassionate local government and for amplifying student voices.
Take these specific action steps to help the Moving Harrison Forward team:
If you are not registered to vote locally, change your registration to your campus address, which will enable you to vote in local elections at the Purchase polling station. The application form is available here: https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/images/stories/pdfs/vrformeng.pdf.
We will provide printed copies and collect completed forms at numerous on-campus student voter registration drives this fall.
To join our group of student campaign volunteers, please email me at Nicholas.Astor@purchase.edu
*Full disclosure: These opinions are my own and do not represent the views of the Purchase Student Government Association nor The Purchase Phoenix*