GT 4 ATL offers opportunities for political discourse

Photo by Kiyah Crittendon

On October 8th, the Student Government Association’s Student Lobby Board and the Xi Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. hosted GT4ATL, which was an introduction to and discussion with the city council members of the Atlanta area.

The town hall meeting last week, which took place in the Student Center Theater, was held in order to give Tech students an opportunity to learn more about what happens in the Atlanta community as well as discuss or challenge the goals and ideas of politicians who work for the benefit of these communities.

“One of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s founding tenants is political awareness and involvement.  We decided to host the Atlanta City Council because of its relevance to Georgia Tech,” said Katie Mitchell, Vice President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Mitchell also believes that the student body can be an enriching experience for students. She cites the success of past political events on campus as evidence.

“The council as a whole makes decisions that directly impact the campus and the students.” said Mitchell, “The upcoming municipal election coupled with Tech students’ past enthusiasm from Wreck the Vote were the initial sparks that lead to making this event a reality.”

The council members, including Tech alumni, Alex Wan, Andre Dickens and Abid Haque, stated their posts in the Atlanta City Council and presented their goals for the community as a whole.

Post 1 Councilman At Large, Michael Bond, presented issues that applied to the education of youths in the Atlanta area.

“All of us must take an active role so that our child will grow and learn in a safe community that will allow them to develop and become respectful members of our community.” Bond said, “With uniting local government, we can also handle criminal activity and ensure a future for them.”

During the event, many students engaged the council members directly with observations and questions that involved examples of past political activity and involvement in the community.

“It’s cool that Tech, or its organizations, try to extend beyond science fields and go for more social areas,” said Mike Lang, a sophomore CE major “If I had to ask the politicians in Atlanta something, it would mainly be the crime prevention.”

For the hosts of GT4ATL, Tech deserves to have a say in political environments, and they believe the students are capable of making a difference in key decisions with our governing bodies.

“Georgia Tech is a fixture in the Atlanta community,” said Mitchell. “We attract the world’s smartest individuals and produce graduates who are second to none. Our impact on Atlanta is far reaching. I believe our voices should not only resound in the science and business communities but also in the political arena. Georgia Tech deserves not only to discuss political and city issues with council members but we deserve a consistent, front row seat at the table.”

The collaborative event was also put on as a sort of voter registration drive for Tech students. Students were given an opportunity to register to vote in preparation for deadline to register.

The upcoming general election in Atlanta on November 5th will have ballots which include candidates for mayor, council president, council members and the board of education.