McLean worked to educate, register students

McLean said she was most proud of the voter registration.

When junior Roshaunda McLean’s burgeoning interest in politics led her to get involved with Mizzou Change Today, she said she never imagined that less than two years later she would find herself at the center of such an important campaign.

The organization, which is devoted to generating student support for bipartisan political causes, used the campaign to register more than 5,000 MU students to vote in the 2012 election.

McLean said she had no idea that she would become the head of an effort to rebuild the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, a 40-plus year old organization responsible for advocating for the political interests of the entire MU student body.

She said she never saw herself revamping Mizzou Change Today, although she would quickly do just that, developing it into a prevalent advocate for bipartisanship in the Columbia community.

Yet over the next two years, McLean would blossom into a political leader at MU and a figure whose accomplishments could probably counter anyone who claims that all of today’s students are politically apathetic.

McLean’s political endeavors began during the summer of her freshman year when she expressed an interest in becoming involved with Mizzou Change Today, which was inactive at the time. The last president offered to allow McLean to take over the organization, and so McLean found herself in charge.

By the time the year was over, the group had 25 active members and had hosted several campus events while also registering several voters in the Columbia community and campaigning for candidates willing to reach across the political aisle.

Associated Students of the University of Missouri, another rebuilding group, took notice of McLean’s efforts when it learned that it would be in charge of organizing the university’s voter registration program and tapped McLean to take charge of the program, which became known as the Let Your Vote Roar campaign.

“The goal of the Let Your Vote Roar campaign was to help students register to vote while also educating them about civic involvement,” McLean said. “During the campaign, we hosted voter registration booths, at least three per week, all over campus and also put on 20 events to educate students.”

As a result of the efforts of McLean and others involved in the campaign, Let Your Vote Roar was the most successful voter registration event in the history of the university, registering over 5,000 students to vote in Boone County while helping others to request absentee ballots from their home counties.

In September, McLean was elected ASUM president as a result of her early successes with Let Your Vote Roar and was tasked with developing the organization, which was again seeking to become active on campus after a several year hiatus.

However, of her many accomplishments, McLean said that the success of the Let Your Vote Roar campaign is what she is most proud of.

“There were so many individuals involved, and it was so complex and I was in charge of it, so if it failed, it all was on me,” McLean said. ”The fact that it did so well with voting, and hundreds of students showing up, shows a lot of impact on the student body. I was also really proud of the diversity of the students who showed up at our events.”

McLean said her political experiences have taught her a lot about herself.

“At first, I didn’t think I was capable of handling all of these responsibilities, particularly at the height of the campaign,” McLean said. “But after this I realized I shouldn’t limit myself because I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I have a good support system behind me.”

She has also left an impression on those who worked alongside her.

“She just has an innate drive in her that makes her want to help out others and look out for the best interests of her fellow students,” said ASUM Vice President Ted Hammers, who has worked alongside McLean for two years. “She is very politically engaged and one of the most goal-oriented people I know. But what will really stick with me is her ability to bring people together, and various other factors together, to make something a success.”

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