As the general presidential election gets closer, many Keene State College students are starting to pay attention.
“College students are like the rest of the country, they pay attention at the point when they need to know, which is November,” Rose Kundanis, a professor of journalism, said.
And November will be the month that students cast their votes. For the Republicans, will it be Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, or Mitt Romney that will win over the students’ votes? Or will it be the Democrat candidates that win over the vote?
As of now in the Connecticut primary, for the Republican party, Romney leads with 67.5 percent, and Gingrich trails behind with 10.3 percent.
In the D.C. primary, for the Republican party, Romney continues to take the lead with 70.2 percent, with Gingrich still behind at 10.7 percent.
But despite these statistics, Kundanis said that students are more interested in issues that are directly related to college students.
These issues range from employment, the decriminalization of marijuana, the war in Afghanistan, and abortion.
KSC freshman Jenna Tilden said she has not been following the presidential election.
“I’ll probably start paying more attention when it gets towards the end,” she said.
Tilden said she doesn’t think many students pay attention unless they have a big interest in politics.
“Most students are just too busy to follow the election for this long,” Tilden commented.
Megan Stone, president of the KSC Republicans club, said most people are aware of the different candidates.
Stone said students are not really following the campaigns yet.
However, she did say, “I think it’s hard not to realize there is a presidential election going on.”
Jordan Posner said there has to be something to spark students’ interests to get them involved.
“When we bring speakers and have events, students show interest,” Posner said.
He said the KSC Democrats club focuses a lot on issues that affect students in New Hampshire.
Stone said the KSC Republicans have tried to get everyone involved by having events on campus.
“We had debate watch parties on campus,” she explained.
Stone said one of the biggest issues students are paying attention to has to do with student loans.
“Obama and Romney both recently have talked about it,” she said.
Kundanis said, “College students have a passion for making a difference.”
Kundanis said there are a lot of ways for students to become involved if they want to.
“If you see there’s a place you can make a difference—maybe go work for a candidate that represents what you believe,” Kundanis stated.
She said she thinks students should just follow their interests.
Kundanis continued, “The most powerful thing we have is voting and working for a change.”
Kundanis said she thinks a lot of college students pay attention specifically to issues having to do with college affordability.
“College students aren’t one topic people but the economy is a big factor with college aged students,” Kundanis commented.
KSC freshman Gigi Gubitosa said she hasn’t been following the election closely, but she knows what is going on.
She said,“I know more about the issues that affect me the most.”
Gubitosa also said she doesn’t think a lot of students pay attention yet because of classes.
“I think students are really busy right now, and they will probably start paying attention over the summer and right before they have to vote,” she said.
When it comes to choosing political parties, Kundanis said parents have a huge influence on students before they come to college.
“Young people use experimentation and try to differentiate themselves from their parents and look at other parties,” Kundanis said.
Stone said she thinks parents’ political party affects a student when they are younger, but they also have their own thoughts and opinions. Kundanis also said students would be looking at a 3rd party candidate if there was one.
Tilden said she would probably look at a third-party candidate. “I haven’t really chosen democrat or republican yet,” Tilden said.
According to Kundanis, many clubs and organizations are paying attention to the presidential election in different ways. “There are the college Democrats and Republicans but other campus organizations are tuned into the election in different ways depending on the issues,” Kundanis said.
Tilden said if students are paying attention it’s probably for a specific issue.
“If students are paying attention they must be really involved with a certain issue and have a really big opinion about it,” Tilden said. Kundanis teaches a class at KSC once every four years during the presidential election called “Covering the Presidential Primary.”
Kundanis said she enjoys teaching the class and that it is different every time.
Victoria Ronan can be contacted at