Odyssey Project features students and special guests in the pre-Election Day event ‘Why Vote?’

why vote_image2Voter turnout has emerged as a key concern in Wisconsin’s hotly contested midterm elections. Hear novel perspectives on the issue in a community event called “Why Vote?” presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Odyssey Project. It features Odyssey students reading their winning entries from the “Why Vote?” essay contest, along with appearances by Jean Feraca, distinguished broadcaster emerita of Wisconsin Public Radio; Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin; and Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times.

“Why Vote?” is held on Sunday, Oct. 26 — a week and a half before the Nov. 4 Election Day — at the Madison Public Library’s Central Branch, 201 W. Mifflin St., 3rd Flood Community Room, from 2-3:30 p.m.

The UW-Odyssey Project empowers low-income adults to get a jumpstart at earning college degrees. Graduates of the program have journeyed from homelessness to UW-Madison degrees, from incarceration to meaningful work in the community.

Along with brief remarks by Feraca, Kaminski and Zweifel, “Why Vote?” will involve the audience in a discussion of how to encourage better voter turnout. Audience members can also enjoy free gourmet refreshments from Chocolatier Catering, funded by the UW Credit Union.

“One of our goals in the Odyssey Project is to empower our often-marginalized students to find their voices and become more engaged citizens,” explains Project Director Emily Auerbach. “Most of our students come from ethnic minorities, face severe financial burdens, and feel others don’t value their opinions. By holding a ‘Why Vote?’ essay contest, registering new voters this fall out at our classroom in the Goodman South Madison Library and holding a community event at the downtown library, we hope our students will feel their votes, voices and visions do indeed matter.”

“Why Vote?” is sponsored by UW’s Division of Continuing Studies, UW Credit Union, Madison Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and The Capital Times. For more information, contact Odyssey Project Director Emily Auerbach, eauerbach@dcs.wisc.edu, 608-262-3733.