Increasing Voter Engagement at Towson University with the Help of Black Women & Power of One Vote
On Thursday, October 25th, Black Girls Vote, Inc. returned to TU for a campus-wide event: “The Café Takeover.” Student volunteers joined Black Girls Vote, Inc. staff and a local radio station - 92Q Jams Baltimore – for a “party” in the University Union, where student attendees could register to vote, print an absentee ballot, mail an absentee ballot for free, or get directions on how to early vote on campus! Students were able to learn about their power exercised through their vote. This campus takeover celebration not only happened at Towson University, but also at Morgan State University and other schools statewide. Through this collaborative effort, and the support of Tumblr who helped to fund these events, we were able to engage, educate, empower and mobilize over a thousand students across Baltimore, over 200 students at Towson University. In addition, statewide, the turnout during day 1 of early voting increased by 106%, compared to the 2014 midterm elections!
Defining the Civic Ethos of our Campus: A Lasting Impact of Alternate Spring Break Experiences
“The best civic learning and democratic engagement efforts are likely to be integral, relational, organic, and generative (Hoffman D., Describing Transformative Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Practices)”. When higher education institutions invest in the betterment of their immediate environments it is good for both the community and the institution.
A Day at the Polls: Encouraging Civic Action on Election Day
At times, it can seem that getting students registered is the easy part of our work – it’s everything else that comes with it that is tough. At The College at Brockport, a SUNY institution in the great state of New York, we had the opportunity to participate with other schools around the Rochester area in a pilot program called the Monroe County Election Fellows. While the primary purpose of the program was to recruit students to serve as poll workers on Election Day, the additional outcomes that were achieved proved even more rewarding.
Promoting a Civic Ethos in Campus Residence Halls
Implementing civic engagement programs, leadership positions, and dialogue is strategic and has allowed students to participate in something to better their world locally. These residential activities align with the College’s vision of “creating opportunity for our students to achieve successful careers and purposeful lives.” Students who participate in these programs, trainings, and conversations develop a sense of purpose greater than themselves. The goal of civic engagement in the residence halls is to infuse democratic values within the living environment. This infusion shapes student’s character into one that is open-minded, civil, ethical, and empathetic which contribute to the civic ethos that Alfred State desires.
Civic Literacy and Skill Building in the Local Context
Together, and with renewed vigor, SUNY Geneseo and the Village of Geneseo have acted on the advice of Grady Bogue that “Orchestrating the tension between individual interests and community interests, between the good of self and the good of the community requires great engagement.” The engagement that has been cultivated this fall is expected to reinforce the College’s commitment to civic literacy and skill building, and civic agency, and lead to even more significant College-Village collaboration in the months ahead.
Consider Opportunities for Community Service When Choosing a College
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a college. Adding opportunities for community involvement to the list could help prepare students for a successful career. But it might also result in stronger communities and a new generation of civic leaders.