Campus Vote Project Blog

The CVP Blog keeps you up-to-date on the latest election-related information and provides insight on how to best engage with students, campus administrators and election officials.

Campus Profile #4 University of Illinois at Chicago

This summer and fall CVP is writing profiles of colleges and universities and their efforts to educate students about voter registration, casting a ballot and developing democratic engagement. These campuses are a part of the Voter Friendly Campus designation project offered by CVP and NASPA. By Matt Camarda, CVP Intern The two representatives from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) who spoke to CVP were eager to share what they had done and what they were planning to do to engage students. UIC just started a coordinated democratic engagement initiative under “UIC Votes” that is tailor-made for its locally-based and diverse student body. During fall orientation, UIC will give every new student a form that will allow students to register, have them confirm they are registered, or note that they are ineligible or would prefer not to register. Given that 85% of UIC commutes, this will be an effective way to register students en masse. (Last May, the Illinois state legislature approved an automatic voter registration bill, which, if Governor Bruce Rauner signs, would take effect in 2018.) Student Leadership Development and Volunteer Services (SLDVS) will conduct voter registration drives throughout the fall, and Rock the Vote will hold a concert on campus during National Voter Registration Day. While the representatives worried that the contentious race could turn off student voters, they were confident in-person appeals will convince students to register and participate. SLDVS sends out mass emails regarding absentee voting, creates a nonpartisan voter guide, and hosts debate watch parties. In the March primary, UIC hosted an early voting site for the first time – an opportunity...

Campus Profile #3: Chatham University

This summer and fall CVP is writing profiles of colleges and universities and their efforts to educate students about voter registration, casting a ballot and developing democratic engagement. These campuses are a part of the Voter Friendly Campus designation project offered by CVP and NASPA.   by Lauren Anderson, CVP intern Recently, I interviewed two representatives from Chatham University in Pennsylvania to discuss their preparations for the general election less than four months away. I could feel their excitement for the upcoming academic year immediately, and after talking to them it became clear why. Like many universities, Chatham faculty and staff are constantly working to make sure students turn out in large numbers at the polls. What struck me most about Chatham was the level of involvement of their students, who volunteered hours of their time each week toward promoting civic and democratic engagement. Chatham has an Office of Student Affairs and a chapter of Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) that are staffed with full-time employees who work year-round planning and implementing activities to get students involved. There’s also a lot that will be going on Chatham’s campus leading up the election and on the day of the election itself. They’re planning to have watch parties for everything from the debates to the State of the Union. The PCWP hosted its first round-table discussion on the topic of the Family Medical Leave Act in the spring. In the past academic year, there were several panels featuring political professors, scholars, and activists focused on increasing political participation among women and people of color. Panel speakers discussed how they...

Reviews are in: CVP Empowered by Empower Mint Ice Cream

At Campus Vote Project (CVP), we strive to help young citizens understand how and why they should be engaged in the democratic process. Whether you’re at a football powerhouse or a liberal arts school; in the Northwest or Southeast; from a long line of voters or first in the family, we want to show you and your friends know why there’s nothing more important than voting. Now, along with the CVP voting guides, webinars, and on-the-ground events, our friends at Ben & Jerry’s added one more ingredient to our GOTV-repertoire. Ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but democracy ice cream. It’s called Empower Mint (get it?). The CVP staff taste-tested the flavor for your benefit, and the reviews are in. Erica 9/10 Stars Two of my favorite things in one; ice cream and democracy! Like freedom the mint was refreshing, light, and sweet! To get to it my palette had to overcome some pretty delicious obstacles (like the brownie chunks), putting me in mind of the barriers some voters face when heading to the polls. Unlike those barriers however, these obstacles were yummy and worthwhile. I hope Empower Mint helps pave the way to a free voting rights for all! Lauren 10/10 Stars Empower Mint mixed two of my favorite ice cream toppings, brownies and chocolate syrup, and combined it with my favorite flavor to make a creation that would inspire the greatest of cynics to speed to their nearest polling location after one bite. Whether you like your ice cream fresh-out-the-freezer or slightly thawed, Empower Mint is sure be the highlight of your day. On election day, I’ll be sure to...

Ideas for Your Fall Campus Plan

by Lauren Anderson, CVP Intern In June, as part of the Voter Friendly Campus Designation, Campus Vote Project interviewed representatives from colleges and universities to learn about their democratic engagement practices and the impact those have on student voter participation. These representatives detailed efforts their campuses had undertaken to register, educate, and turn their students out to the polls. No two institutions are the same, so we included tips that a variety of colleges and universities could use. As your institution develops its campus plans for the Voter Friendly Campus designation, here are some practices you may consider. Begin registering students before they start classes. Students at SUNY Binghamton are given the opportunity to register during new student orientation. Getting students to register during their orientation is often easier to do before they start class and become busy with their new life as a college student. Develop targeted messages according to the needs of different students using publicly available information located at your local board of elections. Stetson University uses their students’ voting history to send targeted messages according to how they participated in past elections. For example, students who voted absentee receive emails on how to obtain and submit an absentee ballot, while students who voted early might receive information on nearby early voting locations Create nonpartisan guides and distribute them to students. Many students want to vote, but feel they don’t know enough to make an informed decision on the candidates or ballot questions. Nonpartisan guides with the positions of federal, state and local candidates are a start toward educating students who need to research the candidate....