ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Honors Higher Education Institutions, Educators, and Students Who Increased Student Voter Engagement During the 2020 Elections
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge hosted its third biennial awards ceremony on November 8, 2021 to recognize select higher education institutions, educators, and students for their extraordinary work in student voter engagement during the 2020 presidential election. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and most students learning virtually, the honorees ensured students across the country could cast their ballots.
The 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S. history. Ringling College of Art and Design received the 2021 Silver Award, which meant they had a 60-69% student voting engagement across campus. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge.
The 2020 election cycle saw unprecedented voter registration and turnout among college students according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. IDHE reported that 66 percent of college students voted in the 2020 election, a 14 point increase from 2016.
“The rise in voter participation and engagement for college students in last year’s presidential election amidst a global pandemic was tremendous and will undoubtedly be tied to the tireless efforts of the dedicated students, faculty, administrators, and partner organizations that are part of the ALL IN Challenge network,” said Jen Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “The hard work of these trailblazing honorees will help support many of the country’s future leaders in fulfilling the equitable, engaged vision of democracy to which we aspire.”
“Due to COVID-19, with such a large percentage of our students learning remotely and participating from all across the country, we had to launch a new effort to get the information to students where they were – virtually – through our campus social media channels, using #RinglingVotes, and through the creation of a RinglingVotes website,” explained Rachel Levey-Baker, Director of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning at Ringling College.
“To increase the visibility of our announcements, events, updates, and events, we partnered with the campus Social Media Specialist and other campus department social media accounts to share our content. This included posting photos from our events to increase awareness, interest, and engagement. As part of this initiative, we worked with Institutional Technology to
create an easy-to-remember email alias, email@example.com, for any member of campus with a question related to the election.”
The RinglingVotes website was created to house all information related to the election and how to engage. In addition to posting our Constitution Day presentation from the local Supervisor of Elections, we included tools for the following:
- Voter Registration
- Requesting Vote-by-Mail and Absentee Ballots
- Early Voting
- Election Day Voting
- Ballot, candidate, and issue guides
- Election laws and deadlines for each state
- Resources for faculty and staff
- Post-election support materials
- Information related to voting and COVID-19
- Help webform
- Email alias for election-related support: firstname.lastname@example.org
As awareness of the programming increased, and campus guidelines for programming were updated, Ringling College was able to deliver the following:
- 14 virtual voter registration/voter education events; Partnering with Residence Assistants, Students of Color Alliance, Campus Activities Board, and several faculty for in-class remote presentations
- 11 in-person info booth tabling events with printed information, necessary forms, voting swag, election support, copies of the U.S. Constitution, selfie booths, and a help station, with an average of 10 students visiting per event
- 2 virtual debate watch events
- 1 virtual voter outreach event (text bank)
- 2 events to write thank you notes to election workers
- events to celebrate 6 election/voter-related national days: Constitution Day, National Voter Registration Day, Voter Education Week, Vote Early Day, Election Hero Day, Election Day
- 3 in-person election support tabling events with emotional health tools and giveaways, Election process guides
“We are really proud of this achievement, recognition, and of all of our students for making their voices heard,” confirmed Levey-Baker.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization. ALL IN strives for a more inclusive democracy—one in which all voices are heard. We believe that higher education plays a role in graduating students into
voters and in closing electoral participation gaps that persist by race and age. Through an intentionally designed program—which provides structure, support, and recognition—ALL IN strengthens college and university efforts to improve civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation. Ensuring that students are registered to vote and participate in all elections is a key component of our work.
Learn more and see a full list of winning campuses at: https://allinchallenge.org/awards-ceremony