Imagine RIT exhibit gives visitors the chance to reach out to presidential hopefuls

Political science students use social media to engage voters

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Members of RIT’s Political Science Club hope visitors will register to vote and take time to send a message to presidential hopefuls by way of Twitter and video recordings.

If you had a single opportunity to say something to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul, what would it be? A group of RIT political science students from the College of Liberal Arts will give festival-goers that chance during the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

“Politics!” located on the first floor of the Gordon Field House and Activities Center, is an interactive exhibit in which visitors can connect with presidential hopefuls through Twitter and video messaging. Students will also coordinate a register-to-vote campaign. The exhibit is the brainchild of RIT’s Political Science Club members.

“We are a newly formed campus club and our members wanted to use Imagine RIT to showcase what we do,” student Hana Shazwin Azizan says. “To capitalize on the concepts of innovation and interaction, we combined technology and politics. By giving the RIT and Rochester communities opportunities to send video messages and tweets to presidential hopefuls, we are helping them to participate in the political process while educating them about the responsibilities of those they elect.

“The use of technology to connect our people to Washington, D.C., not just reflects the mission of our club, but it also allows politicians to hear what people in our community really want from their candidates. Technology is an important tool for us because the way we use it is also a reflection of our tech-savvy university community.”

Azizan says she hopes visitors believe that the messages they send will make a difference.

“We want them to feel like they’ve done something thoughtful and lasting that will urge them to follow up on the query they made via tweet or video message,” she says. “We want them to become interested in voting in upcoming elections since they’ve become part of the process.”

Exhibit coordinators are Azizan, Jazzmyn Ivery-Robinson, Nick Pellittieri, Deirdresha Wint, Jazzlyn Ivery-Robinson, Zoe Gordon, Emily Martin and Kirk Redmond.