April Fools' Day prank encourages voter registration

By Meghan McBrady | 4/3/16 9:31pm

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GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Students were able to take photos with President T. Haas at the Student Life event on Apr. 1, 2016 in Allendale.

by Kasey Garvelink / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Not satisfied with the current candidates running for the presidency this election cycle? Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas’ “A candidate you can crust” April Fools' Day campaign put him as the frontrunner for the Pizza Party nomination for the fall election.

Haas hosted a pizza party on April 1 near the 20/20 desk in the Kirkhof Center, serving pizza and taking pictures with students. He said that while he has a great campaign, his run as the Pizza Party nominee is to encourage GVSU students to use their voices during the electoral season.

"Our students have a very important voice and they are the future of the United States,” Haas said. “We have students at Grand Valley that can engage in the dialogue that can make our nation better for them and for future generations.”

While Haas spoke to GVSU students and campus tour groups, the Community Service Learning Center at Grand Valley State University helped students register to vote.

Alaina Woloszyn, the promotions office coordinator at the Office of Student Sife at GVSU, said that while they have done April Fools' Day pranks throughout the years, this year's the prank focused on an opportunity to interact with students and give them something to laugh at.

Setting up a photo booth provided by 48 West to act as a voting booth with red, white and blue props, students could take pictures, while others ate pizza provided by campus dining, after filling out voter registration forms.

Most students, Woloszyn said, understood the Pizza Party campaign was a joke right away, but enjoyed interacting with the university president.

“The voter registration is also an easy way for students to become civically engaged with their community, which helps further Grand Valley’s learning outcomes,” Woloszyn said.

Rachel Shippy, a sophomore at GVSU, said that the while she was surprised that the Pizza Party campaign was a prank, she enjoyed the message—and pizza—behind the event.

“Free pizza on any occasion is great," she said. "I like that T. Haas does these kinds of things, it feels more personable because you actually see him out here interacting with students and that’s pretty cool."

For more information about registering to vote in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov.

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