The Towerlight, Towson University
September 12, 2010
By Casey Prather
Democracy Matters held a water balloon game outside Cook Library on Thursday, Sept. 9, to raise campus awareness of the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast and bring attention to the facts without opinions on the subsequent consequences.
In the game, students and other passersby were able to throw water balloons at a Democracy Matters member dressed as a corporate employee of BP. Richard Selby, sophomore member of the club, volunteered to play the role of the BP employee.
“I’m one of the few people who could pass as a BP corporate guy, so I said I’ll do it,” he said. “That’s why I’m wet and wearing my big boy clothes.”
Democracy Matters is a non-partisan club trying to raise political awareness among young people. The club supports civil engagement, voter registration and encouraging a fair election process. Erika Walther is a senior and the Democracy Matters campus coordinator.
“We’re trying to get money out of politics and people back in,” she said. “We want a fairer system where you can run for an office if you have the qualifications and you have the ideas, but you don’t have, you know, $36 million to run a campaign.”
The goal of the event was to call attention to the BP oil spill and the effects it is having on wildlife and the economy. Amanda Pressley, sophomore member of Democracy Matters, said she encourages students to have their voice heard.
“It’s just good to take every opportunity you can to express how you feel about [the spill] and make sure people know about it,” she said. “I feel like already attention is kind of wearing off a little bit.”
The club has been planning this event since the last spring semester. It was postponed until fall because of the snow throwing off everyone’s schedules for the rest of spring.
“It wasn’t going to be a BP event, it was going to be big oil companies in general,” Walther said. “We’re not necessarily attacking BP… We are getting the dialogue started by doing this kind of stuff.”
Throughout the day, many people stopped to ask questions and throw a balloon or two at Selby.
“We don’t want to be taken too seriously,” junior Democracy Matters member Kimberly Painter said. “But we do want to be active in current issues, and BP and the Gulf oil spill was a big event and we want to get people talking about it.”
Curious people even stopped to ask questions without being part of the game.
“It’s very symbolic and I think we definitely got people’s attention,” Pressley said. “It’s definitely a good message.”