October 22, 2004
University of Maine at Fort Kent students will literally decide which way the campus's political cookie crumbles at a Student Senate planned Election Night party, beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2 in the Bengal's Lair.
Complete with a mock election that will allow all students, including the large contingent of International and Canadian students, to vote for national and local candidates, as well as Maine's two ballot questions, the night will also feature a cookie bake-off of sorts.
In a planned rematch between the cookie recipes submitted by Laura Bush and Theresa Heinz-Kerry to Family Circle magazine, UMFK's campus dining team will let UMFK students decide which of the two cookies best "rises to the occasion" on election night.
The taste-testing contest will again pit Bush's oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies against Heinz-Kerry's pumpkin spice cookies.
"In the original nation-wide contest initiated by Family Circle, the Bush cookies won handily, but the combination of the St. John Valley's tendency to lean Democratic coupled with the post-Halloween pumpkin frenzy may give Heinz-Kerry a leg up," said Jason Carter, director of ARAMARK foodservice at UMFK.
The cookie tasting contest will be but one of the culinary conundrums and many planned festivities set for Election Night at UMFK.
As the students and members of the public, who are welcome to attend, watch election night returns on six different television sets tuned to the three major networks and three cable news networks, they will feast on a plethora of patriotic dishes.
The food will include Bush's Baked Beans, "pigs in a blanket", served exclusively with Heinz Ketchup, apple pie served with red, white and blue ice cream, a fruit assortment featuring strawberries, blueberries and white pineapple, as well as red and blue slushy beverages to name a few.
Before party attendees dig into the tasty treats, they will first do their duty and participate in a mock election that will take place between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. Results of that vote will be announced at the party around 9:15 p.m.
According to members of the Student Senate, the mock vote already has students talking.
"I have heard a number of students on campus who are not citizens of this country who cannot vote next Tuesday, express that they would really like to cast a ballot in this election. This will give them an opportunity to have their voice heard in some way," said Sarah Smith, president of the Student Senate.
The first 100 people who show up at the UMFK Election Night party and cast a ballot will receive a free t-shirt, designed especially for the event.
In addition to the vote, the Student Senate is planning on having students participate in a "friendly" Democratic and Republican rally during the evening.
"This is not a partisan evening. It is an event for all to attend regardless of their political affiliation," said Smith.
The Election Night party is planned to run until the results of the Presidential Election are known or 11:00 p.m., whichever comes first.
UMFK students, faculty, staff and community members are all invited and encouraged to attend the event.
The party is the final Election 2004-related event being held on campus as part of the nation-wide American Democracy Project (ADP), which is designed to produce graduates who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy.
The ADP project targets undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
The project grew out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in local grassroots associations, and in other forms of civic engagement that are necessary for the vitality of our democracy.