I find it very disheartening that students don't think their votes can change the way society operates . This article talks a bit about the problem. CNN.com - Students doubt the vote, survey finds - Jun 14, 2004
I used to think students didn't care because professors and teachers didn't stress the value of participatory democracy enough in their classes. I know that there are several opportunities when teaching either Am. history to 1877 or Am. history since 1877 to bring up the importance of voting. You can do it when talking about the lack of universal suffrage with the creation of the new constitution, you can do it when you talk about the 14th and 15th amendments, you can do it when you talk about the progressives with their initiative, recalls, and referendums, and you can do it when you discuss the long fight by women to gain the right to vote.
But after talking to one of a students who took my class on "good citizenship" that is mandatory at my college, in which I really stress the value of participation and take a populist approach to getting people involved in the process, I found out that she still did not want to participate in the political system. So perhaps this is an issue that can't be solved solely by education. I wish, however, I had some idea of how it could be solved.