Greatest Minds event revealed that some Georgia State students weren’t voting

On Nov. 3, students and faculty joined the Greatest Minds Society in Georgia State’s Speaker’s Auditorium for a discussion on this year’s presidential election, and a chance for the students to voice their concerns.

Eleven people were in attendance at the beginning of the event, but by the time the food came out and the discussion grew to a closing, 24 students and professors were lingering around, offering opinions on the controversial candidates.

The society often brings together students to discuss on-going issues and hosts discussions on subjects like race,class, and urban culture. President George R. Greenidge Jr. said the event was important in order to get students talking about the importance of voting, days before election day.

“What I’ve heard from talking to students is that they’re not going to participate in the election. Many are saying their candidate, Bernie Sanders, is not there, and so they decide not to participate,” he said.

Brent Antoine, a finance major, said discussions such as that one are important for students to attend in order to know more about who they’re voting.

“I can always learn something new and again I want to put out there the big four. The big four numbers that people need to know. You need to know our GDP [gross domestic product] is $18 trillion, we are bringing in $3 trillion in tax revenues, our debt is $18 plus trillion dollars and our debt is over our GDP right now, our deficit is $476 billion. These things are all important. I come to these forums to get my two cents in, and these are the four things you need to consider when you are picking a president,” he said.

Student Government Association (SGA) Senator Yemi Okanlawon, said she supported the discussion and attended as part of helping to raise awareness among students.

“You have to let your voice be heard,” she said. “A lot of students, there’s a lot of issues that they have, and this is the best way to speak up for your issues. We really want to encourage students to come out and vote.”

Greenidge said that through his work  with Georgia State and different organizations he has found many young people between the ages of 18 to 25 are not happy with choices that are being made in the presidential election.

“They have several of their candidates that they were interested in that are not in the race and right now people feel it’s the lesser of both two evils. That they are both not good candidates,” he said.

For freshman Tamara Renno, experiencing her first American election has proved to be a scary experience.

“I just moved here this summer, and I don’t understand how we’ve gotten to the place we’ve gotten,” she said. “I think people get excited about statements that make them feel energetic and crazy, and that change is going to happen. There’s people that don’t like Hillary, so they think the best thing to do is vote for him.”

Freshman geosciences major Agunniamu Onyilo, co-host of the discussion said that, contrary to popular belief, there will not be any drastic changes after the results come out.

“If Clinton wins, Democrats will say “oh, thank God”, and go back to watching the Kardashians. And if Trump wins, Republicans will say “oh, thank God” and go back to watching Duck Dynasty,” he said.

He said that for him, most elections are the same, none of them seem to ever offer good choices for presidential candidates.


Georgia State junior, Jamila Bell who is a film major gave her thoughts on how the economy will look with Clinton in office versus how the economy will look with Trump in office. She sided more with Clinton than Trump because of Clinton’s experience.

“It’s going to be more so a continuation of the Obama administration as far as making sure the affordable care act is implemented and fixing the pieces that’s not working. I think she will help in correcting that. Also, raising taxes on the top 1% which needs to happen to help the 99% of us who are working class, middle class, and lower class poverty level,” she said.

But Onyilo said the biggest problem with how voters choose their president is that voters are less informed by the media than they were 30 years ago.

“The way I see it is, when you sat down and watched a news program 30 years ago they talked about issues, now when you sit down to watch a news program it’s all about these people called these people this word. This party said this about those people and then it’s a big fight. I think we need not focus on people’s personal lives, but we need to focus on their policies. We need to focus on their tax plans, healthcare plans, immigration plans, and things like that and debate the facts. I then think we will come to an informed conclusion and we will get better candidates overall,” he said.