Following the first snow flurries of the fall, students gathered in the University of Michigan Diag Thursday evening to listen to live music, eat free pizza and register to vote at the Tune In Turn Out Festival. The event was co-hosted by Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and Empty Mug Records to spread awareness about climate action and encourage U-M students to vote in the midterm elections.
Voter registration tables bordered the Diag as upbeat rock and folky acoustics rang from the steps of Hatcher Graduate Library. The event featured performances from environmentally-conscious artists Kelly Hoppenjans, Ani Mari and Big Chemical.
Empty Mug Records, a student-run record label on campus, booked the musicians and coordinated the audio setup for the concert. LSA senior Aly Latherow, co-president of Empty Mug Records, said it was important to prioritize musicians who understood the issues the event advocated for.
“We just want to make sure that the artists that are representing the event actually know what they’re representing and know the platform that we’re giving them,” Latherow said.
Public Health junior Joseph Cerniglia, co-president of CCL, spoke about CCL’s goals for the festival, emphasizing the importance of voting for candidates who will prioritize environmental issues.
“We’re here to share our message and talk about the importance of contacting and talking to your representatives once they’re elected … and pushing them for climate legislation,” Cerniglia said. “But mostly … focusing on turning out the vote.”
According to Cerniglia, the purpose of Tune In Turn Out was to encourage students to register to vote in a fun and relaxed setting, with organizers providing free food and live music to any students who stopped by to enjoy the low-stress environment.
“The point was to get a bunch of environmentally-(conscious) artists out here to play music and get people into the Diag and then direct them to our voter registration stations run by NARAL and Turn Up Turnout,” Cerniglia said.
Turn Up Turnout (TUT) is a nonpartisan, student-led organization aiming to increase civic engagement. LSA senior Leah DeYoung, Vice President of TUT, manned the organization’s registration table and said TUT’s presence at the event was primarily to promote voter registration.
“If people feel that climate action is something that they want to vote on, and they want to get registered to vote, or for any reason that people are just walking through the Diag, and they want to get registered to vote, that’s why we’re here today,” DeYoung said.
DeYoung also said she thinks everyone should have a voice and representation in government, stressing the cruciality of doing research and voting intentionally.
“It’s not enough just to register,” DeYoung said. “We really want people to get out there, vote in every single contest on their ballot and make sure that their voices are heard …. Go out and vote.”
Daily Staff Reporter Natalie Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily News Contributor Maddyn Shapiro contributed reporting.