Monday Moments with President Bergman: October 12, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on October 12th, 2020 by

Election Day is now only three weeks away. Although I love the ritual of voting in person at my polling place, I decided to vote by mail this year. Over the weekend, I filled out my absentee ballot. This morning, I dropped it in the mailbox.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

While voting in elections was not always a right for all American citizens, today most American citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to cast a vote in federal, state, and local elections. Participating in elections is a key freedom afforded to Americans and one of the fundamental principles of our democracy. I’d argue that it is also a responsibility–and not one that we should take for granted. Many people around the world do not enjoy this same freedom.

No matter what you believe or whom you support, please be sure to make a plan for how you will vote this year and follow through on that plan. In our last national election, only 55.5% of eligible voters in the country actually voted. That means that more than 4 out of 10 Americans who were eligible to vote in 2016 did not do so. Among the states, Minnesota ranked first in the nation with a voter turnout of 74.7%. Here at Gustavus, we were named a winner in the inaugural Minnesota College Ballot Bowl, which was a voter registration contest for colleges and universities in the state. Gustavus ranked first among the 68 colleges and universities with a student participation rate of 63%. This year, we are participating in the Minnesota Democracy Cup, a collegiate voter turnout competition. Gustie students–let’s get out the vote! In spite of the pandemic, I am confident that we can get a high voter turnout again this year.

In the days leading up to the election, and in the days immediately following, both civic engagement and civility are vitally important. Our mission statement calls us to respect and affirm the dignity of all people. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek understanding across differences, including political differences. I trust everyone at Gustavus to handle discussions about election issues and candidates civilly, with the utmost courtesy in language and behavior toward others. At a time when it is easy to find examples of divisiveness, extreme partisanship, and moments of incivility, let’s show the world that Gusties believe in lively political debate and meaningful conversations about issues that affect our community and our nation.

Gusties, please vote. Vote your values. Vote for what you believe. Vote for the world you want to live in.

Until next week, keep up the good work!

With respect,

President Bergman


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