Saturday, October 16, 2021

MSU Omega Psi Phi quenches voters' thirsts, encourages others to vote

November 4, 2020
<p>Anthony Hines Jr. (left) and Ryan Thomas (right) of MSU&#x27;s Omega Psi Phi hand out water bottles to voters in front of the East Lansing clerk&#x27;s office during Election Day 2020. In a message directed toward students who hadn&#x27;t voted yet, Hines Jr. firmly said, &quot;Vote, simple.&quot; </p>

Anthony Hines Jr. (left) and Ryan Thomas (right) of MSU's Omega Psi Phi hand out water bottles to voters in front of the East Lansing clerk's office during Election Day 2020. In a message directed toward students who hadn't voted yet, Hines Jr. firmly said, "Vote, simple."

Photo by Jack Falinski | The State News

Blue skies and 60 degree weather in a city where snow flurried across the air three days ago helped bring East Lansing voters to the polls for a rather unusual Election Day this year, even if that meant still succumbing to traditional election line waits.  

For voters at the East Lansing clerk’s office, this wait was their reality, but it was met with helping hands. 

Senior Anthony Hines Jr. and junior Ryan Thomas, members of MSU’s Omega Psi Phi, camped outside of the clerk’s office, handing out water bottles to those waiting in line and encouraging others to vote. 

“We really wanted to eliminate all excuses for people not to vote,” Hines Jr. said. “We understand this is a crucial time for everyone. It’s a big change that needs to happen in this country, and we want to make sure that everyone takes their part in this.” 

They said they arrived at the clerk’s office around the time polls opened at 7 a.m. and as the day went on, they remained outside continuing to provide a helping hand.

“Everyone’s been very positive, so far,” Hines Jr. said. “Nothing but smiles, really.” 

Thomas said they met a lot of first-time voters, registering to vote at the clerk's office and utilizing the dropbox outside of the office. Hines Jr. even said people were asking them questions about how to vote.

“A lot of people have been asking us questions as well,” he said. “We’ve been helping provide a lot of information for people.” 

Members of Omega Psi Phi’s MSU chapter collectively made the decision to help spread the message to vote, Thomas said. Omega Psi Phi was first chartered in 1911 at Howard University, a historically Black college. In 1961, Michigan State adopted its Sigma chapter of the fraternity.

“What made me join Omega Psi Phi? Just seeing strong men that … were always striving in their community and being a great inspiration to others,” Thomas said.

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