By DAKOTA FINCHER
Spring Break is right around the corner and I cannot wait to be sitting on the beach sippin’ something strong. But with great power comes great responsibility, and we still have another half of the semester to finish.
- Watch your drinks.
My mother taught me to never accept a drink from anyone and to always keep my eyes on my drink. This is my motherly advice to you. If it seems tampered with, toss it.
- Take an Uber/Lyft.
Drinking and driving is lame, and ridesharing is lit. Keep an eye on social media for promo codes. Not only will you get there safely, you pay less. Win, win.
- Know your limits.
Chugging that big bottle of bad decisions may seem like a beautiful idea, but you don’t want the consequences. Get to the fun “you” that can enjoy and remember. Even better, the “you” that did not get alcohol poisoning.
- Send a goodnight text.
Wherever you go, text someone afterward. It can be anything from “Goodnight, I’m home” to “jgonls I;mjuh hijeknf.” It makes a difference to the people you care about.
- Start with a game plan.
What are your plans for the night? I mean the entire plan. Know where you’re going and who is going, to eliminate surprises that could ruin your fun. (I know, I know, I’m a mom.)
- Use a buddy system.
I probably don’t even have to tell you this, but never do anything alone. You’re always better off in numbers. So, yes, powder your nose, but together.
- Trust your gut.
You already know what this means. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re probably correct. Leave or call it a night.
- Protect yourself.
Whether it means applying sunscreen, wearing a hat or protecting your future, never do anything without covering yourself.
- Water is your best friend.
Get this tattooed. Water is good for your skin, hair, nails and insides, especially if you’re going to be in the sun. Drink as much water as possible before you start drinking anything else. Besides, water is delicious.
- Remember who you are.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. You are a smart individual and you’ll make good decisions. This is your mom, signing off.
Compiled by Melina Casillas
Percentage of students who plan trips to locations such as Las Vegas, Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana.
Number of top spring break locations located in Florida: Miami, Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Panama City Beach and Cocoa Beach.
Percentage of college students who share hotel rooms with friends.
Typical number of students who stay in one hotel room.
Percentage of students who plan to spend less than $1,000.
Percentage of extra drinking that females say takes place during Spring Break.
Percentage of men who said they drank every night until they passed out.
Percentage of unplanned and “random” sexual encounters that are unprotected.
Percentage of college females who said being promiscuous is a way to fit in.
Interviews and photos by Erik Medina at Desert Vista Campus
“I am spending time with my brothers and sleeping in.”
Major: Equine veterinarian
“I am going to spend time with family and friends. I’ll probably go see the latest movie and will definitely sleep in.”
“I will be studying and enjoying time at home. I will also spend time with friends, and work.”
“A team of friends and I are going to be bike riding at Gates Pass. Party! Chill! Enjoy life!”
Major: Mechanical and nuclear engineering
“I will most likely be playing video games, hanging out with friends, sleeping and definitely eating food.”
Major: Liberal arts
Photos and interviews by Dakota Fincher at Downtown Campus
Major: Film and Art Design
By ERIK MEDINA
In the desert and concrete beyond Interstate 10 on the south side of Tucson, you’ll find a punk rock historian at Pima Community College’s Desert Vista Campus.
Alisha Maria Vasquez, born in Tucson on Nov. 5, 1984, has lived in the city her entire life.
“I’m a bubbly, punk, Chicana krip,” she says.
Krip, a term for anger, reflects her feeling about being born with short-leg syndrome.
She had her first surgery at age 5, and endured another 20 surgeries over the next 10 years.
However, Vasquez says her disability is a part of her character.
Vasquez witnessed her parents’ divorce at age 10 and stayed with her mother. She says her family didn’t have many material goods but was culturally rich.
She later went through a punk rock phase and says the genre helped her control anger that originated from frustration with her place in society.
“We were poor, whatever, a lot of people are poor,” she says. “But I’m Mexican and a woman.”
Through most of her high school years, she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon because of her history with medicine and doctors.
Her goal changed when she took a history class in her junior year of high school. She realized she loved history and decided to learn more.
Her high grade point average helped her receive a scholarship from the University of Arizona. Vasquez majored in history and women’s gender studies, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
Vasquez later moved to San Francisco, and attended San Francisco State University to obtain a master’s degree in history.
She studied Chicanx history and felt fortunate to count disability activist Paul K. Longmore as an instructor. Under his guidance, Vasquez dreamed of being the next big disability historian.
“I was breaking boundaries,” she says.
Her studies mirror her personal life. “I’m the most narcissistic person,” she says. “I study myself.”
Vasquez graduated from SFSU with a 4.0 grade point average, and returned to Tucson with an academic perspective. She was jobless for one year, but spent 50-plus hours a week volunteering.
Serving on the board of directors for Tucson Urban League helped her better understand the community.
She then joined a task force on racial ethnic disparity, and identified areas where kids were getting picked up and arrested. She represented the youth and sought alternatives for those who were facing jail time.
Vasquez eventually found part-time employment at PCC, working as a Mexican American Studies instructor.
Sandra Shattuck, a Desert Vista writing instructor, met Vasquez in January 2016 when their classes were paired as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities Border Culture grant.
“I like Alisha’s enthusiasm,” Shattuck says. “She is passionate about what she teaches.”
She also admires Vasquez’s teaching methods.
“Alisha is so clear in presenting complex issues and offering a long view of the history and then making the connections between back then and today,” Shattuck says.
The grant program brings students to Tucson from across the country to learn about Mexican American culture and border issues.
“I’ve brought my fifth-generation Tucsonan perspective into the program,” Vasquez says.
She would like to teach full time for PCC or work in administration to create community partnerships.
“For me, higher education made a lot of sense but it’s not for everyone,” she says. “As a society, we must also assist people to achieve their dreams even if it seems outside the norms.”
Although retirement is far away, Vasquez would like to retire as a PCC employee. She says she would only leave if she was offered a position where she could root for the underdog, as she always has, only this time for pay.
Her plan for the years ahead is to start a family with her husband. She likes the idea of two kids. She would also be interested in traveling if she doesn’t start a family.
“Be yourself,” she says. “You will never please everyone, but if you can find a way to live a life that is true to morals and values that you set for yourself, you will be happy.”
By BRITTANY MATTOX
The smell of roasted coffee beans infuses the air of a local Starbucks, on a gorgeous Tucson morning. Behind an HP laptop, sits one Pima Community College student who’s unlike the rest.
Luis Ateca, 28, may seem like an ordinary student, but his journey to PCC has been different from most of his classmates. At the age of 8, Ateca left his homeland of Ciudad Juárez to move to the United States.
“As a kid, I wasn’t an idiot,” he says. “I knew there was a big difference between the kids in the U.S. and me.”
After spending much of his childhood in Juárez, comparing his home to the United States seemed almost unfair.
“They had beautiful homes, better schools, the city looked way cleaner,” he says. “Basically their living situation was far more ideal than mine.”
He moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1996 and escaped the most violent era Juarez had ever seen. From 2008 to 2012, his hometown was overthrown by violent cartels, with almost 4,000 reported homicides taking place in 2010 alone.
Later, he and his family moved to Tucson where he spent the remainder of his youth. While his childhood may seem extreme in comparison to students born in the U.S., he insists that it was very similar.
“Before all the violence started, we would just do what kids do,” he says. “We played outside, we played Super Nintendo, we watched movies.”
Once he became a citizen of the U.S., he says he was able to live the life he’d always wanted. Now he spends his days doing schoolwork to obtain his degree in business administration.
Amy Cramer, who teaches microeconomics at West Campus, is one of his favorite instructors.
“She’s fantastic,” he says. “She’s always there to help the students whenever someone has a question about the material. She’s up there as far as top-notch teachers go at Pima.”
Though he has been at Pima since graduating from high school in 2006, he believes he’ll finish his studies soon. “It’s taking me forever,” he says.
Once he obtains his associate degree, he intends to transfer to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.
After graduating, he hopes to get a job working for a large company like Walt Disney or World Wrestling Entertainment. “I’m a big wrestling fan,” he says.
When he isn’t watching WWE on television or attending local wrestling events, he takes in all Tucson has to offer.
“I’m a foodie,” he says. “So I like to go out and try different restaurants and different cuisines here in Tucson.”
One of his favorite entertainment venues in Tucson is the Loft Cinema.
“I’m a huge cinephile,” he says. “I love watching movies.”
He dubs “Pulp Fiction” as his favorite movie of all time. “That’s the one movie that made me realize that I’ve been watching movies the wrong way,” he says.
Having viewed his fair share of flicks, he decided to take on an acting gig in a few of his friend’s films. His first role was in “The Lost Dog,” whose title discloses the majority of its plot. His most recent project, “Gordon Moss,” is expected to be finished soon.
“They are short films for the most part,” he says. “In one of them, I am the main protagonist. The other one, I was just a supporting character.”
The films have helped him to secure his own Internet Movie Database page, but he doesn’t plan on acting ever again. “I realized I’m an awful actor,” he says.
In the future, he hopes to take on more directing responsibilities in place of acting. “I see myself being behind the camera,” he says.
While he doesn’t consider himself an artistic type, he has attempted several creative ventures throughout his lifetime.
“I used to write songs back in my early years,” he says. “I haven’t done that as much as I used to.”
His now disbanded rap group, Spicy Deluxe, did earn him a reputation in high school. But now he focuses on different aspects of his creative side. “I’m pretty good at coming up with characters and movie concepts,” he says. He hopes one day to profit from his ideas.
Ateca prides himself on cultivating meaningful friendships, but says growing older has put many of his bonds into perspective.
“As the years pass, you start to see some people aren’t going to stick around,” he says. “But your true friends will be there for you through the years.”
Not wanting to lose touch with his roots, Ateca keeps in touch with many of his childhood friends. He also visits family in Juarez a few times each year, now that the city is being revived.
Priding himself on his generosity, he offers advice to those seeking lasting friendships. “Never expect anything in return,” he says. “Give, but don’t expect to receive.”
Ateca’s friends say they always have a reason to smile when he is around. His closest friend, Gianni Febbraro, says there’s never a dull moment when his pal is at his side.
“You’ll never find a classier gent than Luis Ateca,” Febbraro says.
Ateca says he is exited to meet new people throughout the rest of his academic journey, but is more than grateful for the friends in his life.
“I am good with what I have, and those people are the ones that I should care about right now,” he says. “Not try to impress the rest of the crowd.”
Compiled by Elise Stahl
Number of Americans who use dating sites.
Percentage of people who think a smile is the most attractive feature.
Percentage of Americans who are single (as of 2015).
Percentage of people who have Googled a potential partner before their first date.
Percentage of single people in Idaho (the state with the least single people).
Percent chance a person will actually like a date set up by a friend.
Average number of minutes it takes to make a first impression on a man.
Percent chance a man will call after a first date (if he didn’t call within the first 24 hours).
Percentage of women who start relationships with partners they met at a bar.
Percentage of men who start relationships with partners they met at a bar.
Average number of hours it takes to make a first impression on a woman.
By ADRIAN FORD
Most 11-year-olds are just starting middle school. A few are thinking about college, and even fewer are actually in college. Brooklynn Bluto is one of those select few.
Bluto is currently enrolled in Japanese 101 at Pima Community College Downtown Campus. The sixth grader also attends Sahuarita Middle School.
“I chose Japanese because when I am older I plan to go to college at Tokyo University,” Bluto said.
She wanted to take a college course because other options weren’t viable.
“Online classes were not very effective, and my school only offers Spanish classes,” she said. “Originally, I spent a lot of my own money on stuff that did not even work.”
One failed online effort was attempting to learn a Japanese writing system called Hiragana. “It took forever, because the websites were super misleading,” Bluto said.
Chris Sandy, Bluto’s stepfather, originally had doubts about Bluto attending college.
“Concerns I had with Brooklynn taking a college course were mostly related to ensuring she did not get overwhelmed or tired of learning,” he said.
Bluto formalized her request.
“When Brooklynn came to my wife and I saying she wanted to take Japanese, she did it via email,” Sandy said. “The proposal included a permission slip, course information, cost and her plea.”
After reading the proposal, they changed their minds. They also saw she truly wanted to learn Japanese.
“We knew Brooklynn was ready because of her dedication to teach herself Japanese in her free time and her dedication to her violin,” Sandy said.
“We were confident that it was our responsibility to encourage her learning and monitor her stress rather than tell her no,” he added.
In addition, Bluto’s parents realized she wasn’t living up to her full potential with middle school classes. “Brooklynn is typically very bored in public school at Sahuarita Middle,” Sandy said.
Sandy drives Bluto to Downtown Campus on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and waits outside the classroom until she is done.
Before she enrolled, Bluto worried her age might create a barrier between her and other students in the class. But after experiencing college first-hand, Bluto said she had no problem fitting in.
“I do not think age holds me back in any way,” she said. “Sometimes I do not understand some words, but context makes it pretty easy.”
Instructor Bridget Wilde also had initial doubts.
“I was very worried, both for her ability to keep up and for my ability to teach her without affecting the class experience for my older students,” she said. “Japanese is extremely difficult to learn as a second language.”
Bluto was always confident in her ability.
“I thought I could comprehend the level of a college course because of how I was taught by my dad,” she said. “He spoke to me like an adult, teaching me a wide vocabulary and how to use context to understand.”
Bluto’s parents saw they had nothing to worry about as long as she kept up her love for learning.
Wilde also realized Bluto is not your average 11-year-old.
“Of course I cannot discuss her grade but I have found her very bright and thoughtful, and willing to ask questions,” Wilde said. “I am fortunate as a rule that my class is always full of students who genuinely wish to learn, and I think Ms. Bluto embodies that spirit wonderfully.”
After learning Japanese, Bluto plans to take more classes through PCC.
“I am probably going to take a course in math, and then a class in computer coding,” she said.
She also has plans for her academic future.
“If everything goes well, I am going to take high school credit classes during middle school to graduate early,” she said.
She’s considering a major in computer science when she attends Tokyo University.
When Bluto isn’t at school, she fills her free time with many different activities.
“We have been enrolling her in anything she asks, like violin lessons or the Tucson Junior Symphony,” Sandy said.
Bluto has taken such a liking to violin that “she has a rash on her neck because she loves playing it so much,” he said.
She also enjoys “beating the other students at chess,” Bluto said.
Bluto’s parents are enjoying her success.
“She’s been carrying on like a well-conditioned mental athlete” Sandy said.
By RENE ESCOBAR
Elialie, a 23-year-old Pima Community College student from Cameroon, was born into a civil war.
In her hometown of Edea, people lived in the rubble of demolished buildings. Many children were orphaned, unclothed and starving.
“I hated where I lived,” she said. “I wanted to leave every day I was there, but leaving was just about a dream for me.”
Cameroon is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to TheWorldBank.org, with 48 percent of its residents living in poverty.
The country has never recovered from the Kamerun Campaign during World War I, when many towns and villages were flattened by artillery. Because Cameroon lacks money, very little debris has been cleared.
Elialie, who asked that only her first name be used, now attends PCC. She’s majoring in public health and currently taking classes in writing, Spanish and geography.
During her childhood, she learned English at a school associated with the International Rescue Committee.
Her journey from Edea to Tucson began in 2007, after her mother developed a non-cancerous tumor. Elialie, then 14, and her older brother walked 20 miles to a larger city and found jobs.
With help from the IRC and other donors, Elialie eventually traveled with her mother and two brothers to Tucson. Her mother underwent surgery to remove the tumor.
As war refugees, the family receives benefits that include an apartment and supplemental checks. Agencies helped her older brother find work and pay Elialie’s tuition fees.
Elialie thought Tucson was a very quiet place when she first arrived.
“It was very welcoming, because people didn’t judge my English-speaking skills,” she said.
Classmates find her quiet as well.
“She’s very to herself, not talkative at all,” writing classmate Robert Valenzuela said. “Elialie has a quiet character to her.”
Nevertheless, Valenzuela enjoys interacting with Elialie during class and learning more about her culture.
“She’s opened-minded towards stuff, and brings her culture to her work,” he said.
Elialie wants to continue her education at the University of Arizona. After earning a public health degree, she’ll return to Cameroon as a missionary who helps children receive medical attention.
“They are people who need help,” she said. “I want to help those people.”
By ALLIE HOLLER
If you walk into Tucson’s Isle of Games on a Sunday, you’ll find Pima Community College student Ron Cover.
Cover (pronounced like over) will be in the back of the store with spiders, demons, the occasional elf and a large collection of paints and brushes.
He spends his Sundays painting miniatures for games.
“I have several thousand miniatures,” Cover said. “I like to have them painted when I play.”
His passion for tabletop and role-playing games has spanned decades.
He first discovered the world of tabletop and RPG games in the 1970s and has spent most of his life creating worlds of fantasy as he socializes with friends.
Cover, 56, is a retired Army sergeant who spent four years in Germany from 1982-86. His primary job was to calculate the trajectory of artillery cannons, and he later moved to a position that required top-secret clearance.
“Anything but presidential clearance,” he said.
During his military career, Cover spent most of his time in northern Germany but had the chance to do some traveling in the region. As part of his deployment, he spent a month in a castle that was built in the 1400s.
“Above one of the doors, it had 1492 carved in it,” he said.
Cover was injured during a war game exercise in northern Germany while riding in a vehicle called a “Gamma Goat.” The driver hit a ravine and launched Cover into the air and onto a radio panel. He injured his lower spine.
He didn’t know the severity of the injury at the time and neither did the Army. Cover completed his service but did not make a lifelong career of it due to his injury.
He returned to Tucson, where he had lived since age 10 after his parents relocated from Toledo, Ohio.
Cover attended the University of Arizona and worked in multiple fields while progressively becoming more disabled as a result of his injury.
“I worked with handicapped transport, which I thought was funny,” he said.
He then worked in the insurance industry until his full retirement in 2002.
Over time, Cover’s injury has gotten progressively more serious. He has undergone several surgeries and experimental treatments to help remove and mitigate scar tissue around his spine.
When he’s out of the house, he is mostly confined to a wheelchair.
With help from nonprofit organizations like Disabled American Veterans and from state senators, Cover qualified for full disability from both the military and the Social Security Administration.
Cover’s more recent therapies include a Dorsal Column Stimulation implant, a device designed to treat specific chronic pain afflictions.
Cover was a prime candidate for the treatment, which involves implantation of electrodes to the area near the lower spine and an electric pulse generator to stimulate the area.
“It feels like I am in a vibrating chair from the waist down,” he said. “It works well, but it is more of a distraction from the pain.”
Since becoming fully retired, Cover has been raising his children and attending PCC through the military GI Bill. He has almost completed a liberal arts degree with a focus in world history.
His benefits also helped put his wife and two children through a large portion of school.
Cover has never quit playing games. It is also a family affair, with family members attending conventions and holding regular game nights.
On Sundays, Cover sets up his paints and miniatures and helps other people learn and explore what it takes to paint something not much larger than your thumb. A myriad of paint colors and small brushes make it possible.
Cover assists young and old with painting and other aspects of gaming.
“I’ve been collecting for 20 years,” friend Dave Weir said. “I’ve painted maybe 100. At some point, you have to learn something new.”
At the last Rin-Con multi-day gaming convention, Cover and members of his informal painting club organized a paint-and-take to provide participants with instructions, paints and miniatures.
Various gaming companies donated most of the materials. Cover’s group also arranged for donations that were used as raffle prizes, and intend to do it again in years to come as well as for other conventions in the area.
Why does he spend so much time helping others discover and enjoy games and miniatures?
“I’d rather be doing something than sitting at home,” he said.
“Life is fun, I like to make the most of it,” he added. “I’m broken but life is good.”
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Growing up, Chef Mario Diaz De Sandy Jr. wanted to be an actor. He didn’t find his current passion for cooking until later.
He now pursues both passions. The certified executive chef has his own cooking show.
“Originally I went to school for acting, back in the day, like early ‘80s,” De Sandy said.
De Sandy, widely known as Chef Mario, stars in a cooking segment on Telemax network, which is broadcast all over Mexico. De Sandy cook dishes for a program that airs on Saturdays at 9 a.m.
“I’ve had a few people stop me at Food City and stuff like that,” he said. “I’m not really looking for fame and fortune, but it feels good to be recognized on TV as a chef.”
De Sandy’s native language is Spanish, but family members living in Mexico have called after seeing the show to give him points on how to speak Spanish in a more proper way.
“When you grow up on this side of town, you learn Spanglish and you learn words from the street,” De Sandy said. “I had six or seven words that I had to Google translate and practice saying.
One such word was “alcachofa,” which is the Spanish word for artichoke.
De Sandy films the TV segments at the Pima Community College Desert Vista Campus, where he works as a culinary instructor.
It usually takes De Sandy more than 45 minutes to demonstrate and cook the featured dish. After editing, those 45 minutes become a six- or seven-minute video.
Before filming his own show, De Sandy played an extra in 14 Tucson movies. He worked as a chef for one of the film crews, feeding them breakfast each morning.
At one point De Sandy spent six months in the Washington Mountains working as an assistant producer and then on the special effects team.
“It was a great experience for me,” he said.
In addition to his acting pursuits, De Sandy recently completed a milestone in his cooking career by completing all requirements to become a certified executive chef
There are four major keys to becoming certified.
The first step is completing classes that count as education-work experience.
“I just received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and I took a bunch of classes at Pima, and when you bundle them all together, I qualify for that section,” De Sandy said.
Secondly, he obtained letters from previous employers that show he has leadership skills.
“I had to get letters stating that I actually supervised more than four employees,” De Sandy said.
During past work at University Medical Center, he supervised 110 employees.
Next came a cooking exam with multiple parts.
“You have to do an appetizer, a main entree and a salad,” De Sandy said. “It’s very expensive because you have to practice, so you have to buy food for practice. Then you have to buy food for the actual exam.”
Applicants must incorporate specific items and techniques into their creations.
De Sandy was required to include lobster, salmon, chicken and many other ingredients. He also had to demonstrate designated knife cuts such as julienne, paysanne and batonnet.
He spent 12 hours driving to the Phoenix location, setting up, taking the three-hour exam and cleaning up.
“You always want to leave the kitchen in a better condition than you found it,” he said.
Once he had the education, the letter and the practical exam out of the way, he had to complete a 100-question written exam in Nogales about kitchen management, sanitation and other topics.
De Sandy was one point short on his first try. “Unfortunately the passing grade was 300 and I got a 299,” he said.
He blamed a combination of not keeping track of time and not studying, and promised himself he would take the test again and ace it.
The results were better when he re-took the test 10 months later.
“I scored a 340,” he said.
Photos and interviews by Bryan Orozco at West Campus
“I’d say the economy for sure. I think our future president has some good ideas, but I’m not sure he knows how to work them out.”
“Probably unity between the people.”
Major: Electrical engineering
“Financial aid. We have to wait almost a month after school has started.”
“The economy and President Trump. I think that will be the most challenging task.”
Major: Metrology engineering
“Oh dang. I really don’t know.”
Photos and interviews by Nicholas Trujillo at Desert Vista Campus
“Either way, no one was going to be happy. People shouldn’t judge everyone else, because everyone has a different opinion.”
Major: Mechanical engineering
“It caused a lot of hate between everyone. We have to learn to connect with each other and just deal with it for four years.”
“Both of them had too many of the bad things, so it was kind of a hard choice. I didn’t vote because those two weren’t the right ones for this country.”
Major: Computer engineering
“Disappointed. He doesn’t have the experience to run this country and I feel like he’s just going to run it into the ground.”
Major: Athletic training
“Hopefully he does a good job. I think we’ll be OK. Hopefully we don’t go downhill real fast.”
Photos and interviews by Arlaeth Ramirez at Downtown Campus
“Sweet potatoes. It’s like desert while eating dinner.”
Major: Liberal arts
“Mashed potatoes have to be my favorite, just because of the gravy.”
“My mom puts good stuff in the mashed potatoes. I’m not sure what I like, the mashed potatoes or the good stuff.”
Major: Electrical engineer
“I like turkey because that’s what Thanksgiving is for, to eats lots of turkey.”
“Turkey. It tastes good.”
Major: Business administration
By KATELYN ROBERTS
We’ve all seen “Feel the Bern” merchandise, “I’m with Her” T-shirts and “Make America Great Again” baseball caps decked out on babies, students, Uber drivers and your racist grandpa.
Social media has also enjoyed the strongest influence ever in a presidential election. The candidates know this, and use it to their advantage.
For instance, Donald Trump utilized his social media accounts instead of paying $2 billion in advertising, according to a study by mediaQuant.
Researchers and strategists agree the quickest way to make news is by posting it directly to voters.
University of Arizona freshman Britanee Hudson, 23, and many others use Facebook as their vehicle for election information.
“I don’t watch the news,” Hudson said. “I, like most millennials, don’t have cable and have no interest in biased, fear-mongering media that I seem to find whenever the news does happen to be on.”
Hudson admits she’s not as knowledgeable as she’d like to be on Tucson politics but said, “I will be by election day.”
She began following politics after hearing a speech by a Democratic candidate for Arizona attorney general.
“I first became abnormally interested in local politics for my age in 2014 because I got the opportunity to hear Felecia Rotellini speak in Mesa,” she said.
Hudson was impassioned by Rotellin’s stance on immigration reform, so “started looking in depth with other local representatives as well.” She uses sites like Ballotpedia.org to research bills.
Oftentimes, however, voters don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about local politics.
This is where apps like Countable come in.
Countable keeps users up to date on local politics, whether you’re a student trying to ace a class or a citizen who wants to learn more about local issues.
Wired magazine calls it an “an easier way to pester your local congressmen.”
Countable is available for Android and iOS. Sign up for free, enter your zip code and select your interests. You’ll see your local politicians immediately, and can contact them. Each member has a profile on the app.
Users can get updates on which bills your local representatives voted on and how they voted. They can also watch voting in real time.
The user-friendly, photo-heavy layout is easy on the eyes too.
Countable offers a blog for daily news, and frequently rotates house and senate bill bios. Videos explain basics like why political ads have to end in an “I approve this message.”
The app only asks the user questions. It’s never biased, which makes it accessible for everyone.
I’ve personally found it useful for classes and for remaining politically aware.
Hudson put it well: “While this presidential election is of greater importance to me than elections in which I’ve voted in the past, it isn’t the president who going to raise the minimum wage or legalize marijuana in Arizona.”