Centre College recently received a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for having a 2018 campus voting rate between 30-39 percent in the 2018 midterm election. The organization uses data from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) to determine designation seals and awards.
The College’s midterm voting rate increased 14.6 percent from 19.6 percent in 2014 to 34.2 percent in 2018.
“I think there is still a lot of room for growth, and that is something we are focusing on now,” said Jessica Weasner, director of community service & the Bonner Program. “We’re in the process of assembling a coalition of students, faculty, staff and community members to develop a campus plan for democratic engagement.”
Centre will be applying for the Voter Friendly Campus designation, awarded by NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Campus Vote Project. Weasner said she fully expects the College to receive a platinum seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which is awarded to campuses with 50 percent or more voter participation, for 2020.
“These designations and awards are important, because they recognize the good work that is happening on Centre’s campus and motivate us to do better,” she added. “We want participating in civic life to be a norm in our community, so it’s advantageous to show that a large number of our students do vote.”
The process of applying for these awards is extremely beneficial for Centre, because this requires the College to establish a coalition to identify its existing civic engagement initiatives and develop measurable goals for the future.
“Institutions of higher education play a key role in preparing students for lives of active citizenship,” Weasner said. “Voting is just one piece of this, but it is a great place to start. The campus plan we are developing will identify ways that we can institutionalize civic learning and engage students beyond electoral politics. All Centre students should be graduating with the knowledge, skills and experience to fully participate in our democracy.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
November 21, 2019