By Byron Hoskinson–
The University of Louisville’s Student Government Association drew more than 250 students to the Red Barn on Sept. 17 for a day of political debates and pulled pork at the third annual FancyVille event.
SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Ben Barberie said FancyVille is part of a larger initiative to get students engaged in politics both on and off campus. “[SGA’s] goal with FancyVille was to increase student political engagement, so many of the events were tailored around that,” Barberie said.
Such events included an open panel with local representatives, voter registration drives and tables set up for the College Democrats and College Republicans clubs Barberie said. The SGA-coordinated forum and lunch takes its name and structure from the renowned Fancy Farm political picnic, a yearly affair in southeastern Kentucky that attracts high-level politicians to its local venue to discuss current events and eat barbecue.
In true Fancy Farm fashion, SGA brought out big political names to discuss current events and controversies before opening up the floor for students to grab a plate of catered Mark’s Feed Store or Chipotle. The McConnell Center also contributed to the event, handing out pocket Constitutions alongside cupcakes in celebration of Constitution Day.
Congressman John Yarmuth, U.S. Rep. for Kentucky’s third congressional district, spoke for an hour with SGA Director of Government Relations Malcomb Haming about topics ranging from presidential indictments, to his family’s heritage to the necessity of good faith bipartisanship.
Following the break for lunch, the day turned back to politics with a panel led by state and municipal legislators discussing local issues. The panelists included Louisville Metro Council president David James, state senators Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams, and state Reps. Charles Booker and Jason Nemes.
Barberie said getting political representatives and other public servants on campus is in line with SGA’s goal of promoting student involvement in elections through access. “One of the best roles that SGA can play is increasing engagement with all different types of offices across campus, whether those be political offices or the police department,” he said.
“One of our goals is to remove barriers to communication and make it a lot easier to talk to the people who are making the decisions.”
Students can register to vote, check the status of their registration, and find their precinct locations at https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/govoteky.
Photo By Anna Claire / The Louisville Cardinal