The 2024 presidential election: Why you should start caring now

Via FIU Flickr.

Alexandra Howard | Contributing Writer

As new and old contenders emerge throughout the race, each candidate’s stance on human rights will either benefit or damage a college student’s life. To protect our rights, we must pay extra attention to the 2024 presidential election— even with it being so far away.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Many things runs around a college student’s mind as they balance their personal lives with education; They wonder if they’re safe from gun violence on campus, if their university supports their reproductive or sexual health decisions, or even if they’re truly protected in their community based on how they identify.

This relates to policies for gun safety on-campus to access to all contraceptives at a campus medical clinic to transgender student athletes being prohibited from sports teams.

Even for some students, these human rights topics may not feel important to them now. But, you never know when your life will change and gravely depend on these policies.

If these human rights are on the line by our next president, then college students should unite and raise their voices months before Election Day. 

Healthcare access, minimum wage, racial and LGBTQ+ rights, educational curriculum and gun safety are just a fraction of what college students care for the most. 

But, over the past decade, political parties seem to repurpose these issues to a specific standard in their own party. The future of these rights continues to be a concern as more politicians become influential figures with their forceful policies or ideas.

Though, when it comes down to voting for a president in our college years, it’s important to realize it goes beyond party lines. Human rights concern your peers, professors and yourself while you receive a college education.

Without a doubt, gun violence has sky-rocketed in this country and included college campuses in its destructive path. 

There is only so much a president can do in terms of gun safety legislation, since it mainly revolves around passing the bill through Congress. But, analyzing the efforts of rising presidential candidates now can help determine who is most likely to succeed with bi-partisanship on this human right to help students.

Gun safety is desperately needed on college campuses for the obvious reason of protecting students’ lives. It expands further to strengthen the mental health of students who fear a mass shooting, and allow high school students to feel safer in their transition to college.

This intertwines the 2024 presidential race for many reasons, and one of them is making sure a candidate is not accepting funds at the start of their candidacy from gun advocacy groups.

Another prime example are livable wages since they’re always mentioned in a presidential race, either during their campaign rallies or candidate debates. During office, the president has the power to propose and sign the minimum wage into law.

Around 70% of college students work while in college, and most of the time earn minimum wage from a job outside or on-campus to pay for student financials or personal living expenses. 

Depending on what each candidate is set to promise to millions of Americans, the minimum wage helps working students earn their degree and provide for themselves or their family. A minimum wage job also provides work experiences crucial to a résumé.

Minimum wage and gun safety, among other rights, are make-or-break situations in a college student’s life. It’s exactly why students need to make sure presidential candidates are actively working to ensure their promises for human rights as soon as they announce their candidacy. Finding one lie or discrepancy can save four years of fear and uncertainty for a college student.

As much as speaking out to make sure 2024 presidential candidates are listening to our needs as students, the easiest way to make your voice heard is voting. After all, the college vote has forcefully influenced elections in the past. Your vote is equally as strong.

November 5, 2024 is pretty distant, but a year and a half into the future gives college students enough time to advocate for the issues of our present and future. It gives enough time during college to choose the right candidate that will vouch for our rights.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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