UVA joins campuses in nationwide effort to be voter friendly
The University of Virginia is joining more than 200 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia to be designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus.”
The initiative, led by two national nonpartisan organizations, the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encouraged their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
The designation follows an active election cycle at the University of Virginia where students successfully worked together to increase voter registration and raise voter awareness.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. The University was evaluated based on an on-Grounds plan by UVA students about how they would register, educate and turn out voters in 2020; how they facilitated voter engagement efforts on Grounds; and a final analysis of their efforts – all in the face of the upheaval caused by a global pandemic.
The designation is valid through December 2022.
With key support from the UVA Division of Student Affairs, Campus Vote Project fellow and fourth-year student Hannah Koizumi and her peers on Student Council spearheaded the efforts and partnered with other student organizations to get as many students registered to vote as possible.
These initiatives included developing the website www.hoosvoting.com, which made it as easy as possible to register to vote and find rides to the polls. The UVA Center for Politics also teamed up with the Charlottesville Registrar and UVA students to produce a voter information page.
Each year, the Campus Vote Project fellows are chosen and supervised by the UVA Center for Politics.
Another Campus Vote Project fellow, second-year student Ann Ashley Daniel, led efforts as a WorkElections Fellow to partner with the Power the Polls initiative, recruiting student poll workers to fill in where there were gaps in volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Center for Politics also created a social media voter awareness campaign by distributing more than 6,000 masks on Grounds and across the country with the 1964 campaign slogan, “VOTE ON NOVEMBER 3RD, THE STAKES ARE TOO HIGH FOR YOU TO STAY HOME,” free of change, reminding recipients to vote. All these efforts factored into UVA’s designation as a voter-friendly campus.
While fostering civic involvement has long been at the core of the UVA Center for Politics’ mission, this designation makes a strong statement about UVA’s larger commitment to providing support so that students are engaged participants in our democracy. The Center is excited to continue engaging students through 2021, 2022, and beyond.
The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses.
The program is ultimately serving millions of students.