Local political candidates brought campaign buttons and balloons onto the Plaza of the Americas Thursday.
Candidates participating in the Senate and the City informed students and faculty about their campaign ideas and encouraged them to vote in the upcoming city and Student Government elections.
People also had the opportunity to register to vote in city elections.
Students chatted with candidates for Gainesville city mayor and Gainesville city commissioner, as well as Unite Party and Student Alliance party candidates.
Nicole Sarrine, director of the SG Community Political Affairs Cabinet, which hosted the event, said the cabinet wanted to host an event allowing students to mingle with future SG leaders and future Gainesville officials.
“These are the people who will be representing you and your ideas, so it is very important for students to take the time to get to know the candidates and their stances,” Sarrine said.
Nick Mildebrath, campaign manager for the Student Alliance party, said he thinks it is important for students to be more active in city and SG elections. He said zoning laws and alcohol restrictions are two things that directly impact students and are controlled by the city government.
“Local and Student Government elections probably affect people’s day-to-day lives more than national government, and students don’t always realize it,” Mildebrath said.
Ashton Charles, Senate president and Unite Party candidate for Student Body president, said it is very important for students to have a voice in city politics as well as SG.
“I think students have a big say not only on campus, but in the Gainesville community,” Charles said.
Craig Lowe, one of the mayoral candidates at the event, said he wanted to speak with students about his ideas for the future of Gainesville.
“I had an opportunity to talk to a lot of students about my goals for the future of the city of Gainesville and the importance of voting by the entire university community, including faculty, staff and students,” Lowe said.
Morgan Long, a member of the College Republicans, said it is important for students to start getting informed about politics now, while they are still in school.
“It’s good to get them in as a grassroots movement and get energized for the rest of their lives to be political,” Long said.