Students voice their political opinions that will be used on Election Day


Illustration by Jake Thompson

By Missy Smith

Eric Heim, sophomore in LAS, stands apart from the majority of students as a socialist in a highly capitalist society. Still, Heim’s parents support his right to believe what he wants to in a free nation.

“My parents taught me to be kind and compassionate and all that good stuff,” Heim said. “From that base, I developed my own political equations. As for my parents influencing my personal beliefs, there was not really a lot of that. They support my right to have my own beliefs, they are pretty respectful of that.”

For instance, Heim’s parents were not pleased when he went to the Republican National Convention to protest, but they let him go anyway.

Jonathan Hasman, senior in las, may not be as nationally involved as Heim, but his father still supports his conservative beliefs, though he may not agree with them himself.

“The town I grew up in was really liberal for the most part, and my father is liberal as well,” Hasman said. “It was just a matter of how I personally felt on issues. I don’t know if I can pinpoint why, it just happened that way.”

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    In high school, Hasman said he and his father never really discussed politics, allowing him to come about his ideas independently.

    “My dad never tried to influence me or try to make me think the way he thinks about politics,” Hasman said. “He just let me figure stuff out on my own, and didn’t try to sway me one way or another. I think I believe what I believe and he believes what he believes and we are not influencing each other at all.”

    Mark Mallon, senior in LAS, has been influenced by his mother, who is city councilwoman in his hometown, but he deviated from the two-party system, becoming an active member of the Green Party.

    “Basically, my mother just taught me to be active in the system and be involved in the process,” Mallon said.

    Mallon became involved in the Green Party on campus. Since then, he has worked to get Green Party candidates on the ballot for local elections and attempted to persuade his mother, among other people, to see the party’s ways.

    “My mother is leaning Green,” Mallon said. “But she is not quite there. I work on her a little bit. Basically, I try to tell her how the two parties right now aren’t doing a good job, and she knows that.”

    Jake Hendee, junior in ACES, leads the student effort to elect Barack Obama on campus, and while he is a member of the same political party as his parents, it was by choice.

    “I have been influenced by my parents, but I don’t think so much in terms of voting for certain candidates because my parents do,” Hendee said. “I think it was just a guiding set of principles that my parents set. I don’t agree with everything they believe in, and I am sure they don’t agree with me 100 percent of the time either.”

    While Hendee’s parents influenced him, he said he feels that the campus had an impact on his beliefs as well.

    “The college campus changes a lot of political views,” Hendee said. “Coming from a small town in Kansas to Champaign was a bit of a culture shot politically, and in other ways. It’s a completely different perspective.”