The Voicebox gets students interested, involved in politics
University of Nevada, Reno student Donnell Dike-Anukam has always had an interest in politics. As an activist, he has knocked on doors, passed out literature and kept himself educated on each major issue. But since 2007, one of his favorite ways to get involved has been through a weekly radio show that he hosts and produces on the University’s station, Wolf Pack Radio, 1700 AM, called The Voicebox. The show, which airs 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays, discusses everything from budget cuts to student involvement in elections.
“We try to take the issues that everyone is hearing about and show how they affect students, and what students can do about them,” said Dike-Anukam.
The Voicebox’s approach is clearly garnering some attention. It is one of Wolf Pack Radio’s most popular shows, and has attracted such high-profile guests as Senator Harry Reid, former President Bill Clinton and former Governor Michael Dukakis.
“[Dukakis] was one of the more knowledgeable guests we’ve had,” noted Dan Lucas, a recent Nevada graduate and a co-host of the show. “We discussed everything from transportation to education.”
Both Lucas and Dike-Anukam are pleased with the increase in listeners that guests such as Governor Jim Gibbons and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have created. The two are hoping to reach as many students as possible and to inspire them to voice their political views.
“Traditionally, student involvement in politics has been low,” said Lucas. “The reason we don’t get our voices heard is because we don’t participate. It’s critically important that that changes.”
Dike-Anukam agreed. He enjoys seeing the impact that the show can have on policy affecting the University, and hopes that student listeners will realize that their opinions can have just as much power.
“We had a big impact on what the students had to incur [as far as budget cuts],” he said.
Though he is a Republican, Dike-Anukam presents all sides of issues on the show, which sometimes features liberal-conservative debates, in order to help students understand the topics and decide for themselves what they think about them.
“Make it simple; make it clear and keep it factual,” he said, describing a general rule he observes on the show.
The VoiceBox has also added new guest voices and hosts to the show over the last semester, including students with all kinds of different academic backgrounds, varying levels of political experience and diverse political interests. For example, Taylor Anderson, political science and information systems major and current Associated Students of the University of Nevada Judicial Council Member, is a frequent host and commentator on the show who helped students understand the healthcare debate in a recent interview with Harry Reid, and Maritza Perez, a public relations and political science major and head of ASUN Legal Services sat on a recent VoiceBox immigration forum featuring the controversial speaker Jim Gilchrist. Dike-Anukam and Lucas hope a multitude of student input will provide a broad and detailed perspective to issues of the day facing students.
The Voicebox’s Dec. 9 show was the final one of 2009, but it will begin broadcasting again at the start of the spring semester. Dike-Anukam and Lucas already have topics lined up. They hope that student feedback continues to build along with the show, and that students will voice their opinions on topics such as climate change, national defense, immigration, and legalizing marijuana, all of which are slated to be covered on The Voicebox.
“We want to hear from the public; we want to hear from students,” said Lucas. “There’s no stupid opinion. If you’re trying to get involved, you’re obviously not stupid.”
To learn more about The VoiceBox and other Wolf Pack Radio shows, visit Wolf Pack Radio.