#VoteSwiftly sweatshirts distributed to students in EBI

Program rides on the momentum of Swift’s voter outreach, targets young voters

Sweatshirts were distributed to students 11/5 at E. Bronson Ingram College. (Photo by Nisha Naseer)

Eighty E. Bronson Ingram residents received free #voteSwiftly sweatshirts on Nov. 5 in honor of the midterm elections. #VoteSwiftly sent the sweatshirts to Vanderbilt to endorse voting turnout in Tennessee.

The political organization #VoteSwiftly was created in reaction to pop figure Taylor Swift’s Oct. 7 Instagram post encouraging young people to vote and emphasizing human rights. The organization, under the larger Movement Voter Project, is not directly tied to Taylor Swift, but uses her message as a platform to reach young voters, #VoteSwiftly Tennessee State Organizer Angela Harper said.

The sweatshirts, which read “vote Swiftly” and a reworded version of her song “Shake It Off” to emphasize voting, are one of the organization’s main mechanisms of reaching out to young people. The sweatshirts have been distributed at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, MTSU, Austin Peay and University of Memphis, in addition to Vanderbilt, Harper said.

After hearing about the #VoteSwiftly campaign through a friend, freshman Taylor Lomax reached out to the program to get involved. He then became a student lead for Vanderbilt’s campus.

“I’m a huge advocate for civic engagement as well as a Swiftie, so I felt that this was a good fit for me,” Lomax said.

Harper arranged for Vanderbilt to receive a shipment of sweatshirts and other materials to spread awareness about voting through social media, which Lomax distributed in E. Bronson Ingram. Students, in exchange, were supposed to post about them on social media, Lorax said.

Sophomore Nisha Naseer, who received one of the sweatshirts, said many students were under the impression that Taylor Swift actually sent the sweatshirts to Vanderbilt. Despite confusion over the sweatshirts’ source, students were excited about their arrival, said Sara Igo, Head of House of E. Bronson Ingram College, who informed students about the merchandise over email.

“In fact, I’ve never seen a response like this before to an email message,” Igo said. “About ten seconds after I sent out an all-college email, students were flocking to my back porch to claim their hoodies.”

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