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Hofstra Votes campaign launches podcast  to extend outreach

Hofstra Votes campaign launches podcast to extend outreach

Hofstra Votes, which was launched last year by President Stuart Rabinowitz to increase student political interest and voter turnout, has released a new Hofstra Votes Podcast to extend the reach of the campaign. The first episode of the podcast was released with Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, as the guest. 

“We have physical events, tabling; we’ve done videos; we’ve done social posts; so we’ve been trying to find a new way to get in front of students in the Hofstra community,” said Carley Weinstein, Hofstra’s associate director of public relations for digital engagement. 

Tabling will begin again on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and will mostly be in the atrium but will also expand to different school buildings. “The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for members of our community to vote,” said Assistant Vice President of University Relations Karla Schuster. 

Weinstein emphasized the accessibility of the podcast to students and members of the Hofstra community. If a lecture is missed because of class or work, the podcast now puts them within everyone’s reach. 

Each episode is recorded in the newly-renovated Richard Phillip Cavallaro studios at Radio Hofstra University (88.7 FM) in The Herbert School. “[WRHU provides] us with a lot of technical support and coaching,” Schuster said. 

Last year, Hofstra Votes tabled, held events and hosted speakers. The organization also helped students register to vote and showed them how to use voting machines. They plan on continuing to do all of these things this year – now with the added knowledge gathered from last year’s campaign. Weinstein learned from tabling what students didn’t even realize they didn’t know. “Students didn’t know that they need that number on their license or their social security number ... even instructing students how to do snail mail. Those are small things that we never considered.”

The next episode will be released Tuesday, Sept. 10, with Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman Berliner, a former economist, discussing the role of stocks and the economy in politics. 

“Part of this is also to let our faculty experts help students understand these issues better,” Schuster said. Future episodes will feature faculty experts and speakers including Craig Burnett, associate professor of political science, discussing polling and Tomeka Robinson, associate professor of rhetoric and the director of the Speech & Debate team (also known as Hofstra Forensics) talking about rhetoric and the performance aspect of debate in politics.

“I think it’s also a way to have different people’s voices and points of view heard,” Weinstein said of the podcast. “Every faculty expert that we have specializes in something different.”

“We want to remind students that they are the future – for the first time, people in the 18-35 demographic are now the largest chunk in voting age people,” Schuster said. 

Social media plays a big role in this outcome. “With the Hofstra 2016 [Presidential] Debate, we used a hashtag and we saw the power of social media as it pertained to civic engagement and … the productive dialogue happening on social,” Weinstein said. “It’s another way to communicate and have important and meaningful discussions.” 

Podcasts are gaining popularity – 51% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, and News and Politics is among the top five genres, according to Edison Research. Podcast listeners are also 45% more likely to have a college degree, 56% more likely to be undergraduate students and 68% more likely to be post-graduate students. 

Both Schuster and Weinstein emphasized bringing local politics to the forefront as well as presidential politics. “If everyone on campus was registered and voted, that would be a huge victory,” Schuster said.

Podcast episodes will be released every 10 days to two weeks throughout the semester to continue to express the importance of staying informed on issues that are as important locally as they are nationally. You can listen to the podcast on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher, all of which are linked on the Hofstra Votes website. 

“The power is there; the agency is there,” Schuster said. “You just need to access it.”

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