Newswise — SUNY Geneseo is among 83 campuses in 23 states recently designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus” by the national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
The two organizations held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices during the initiative that encouraged their students to register and vote in the 2016 general election and in coming years. The mission of the designation is to bolster efforts to help students overcome barriers to participate in the political process.
Geneseo’s Task Force on Voter Registration and Engagement developed a voter registration and engagement plan, which was the foundation for the recognition. The plan included an ambitious student-driven voter registration effort to have new and transfer students complete voter registration forms; a voter education program, which included such things as Constitution Day events, Meet and Greet the Candidates events and a candidates forum; the televising of the three Presidential Debates; and a get out the vote campaign on Election Day.
Two student coordinators and Andrew Goodman Fellows, Katelyn Tzavelis and Sarah Jane Phillips, organized the student volunteers and hosted several of the events and programs with direction from Tom Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts our students and others on the Task Force on Voter Registration Engagement put forth to engage students and others on our campus to participate in our political process,” said Matthews. “Our democracy depends on participation and this was a serious and successful effort to make sure voters would be heard.”
Community partners in the effort were the Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Livingston County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections established a new polling place on campus to accommodate the large number of students who had registered to vote.
The effort resulted in an increased voting rate of 43 percent in 2012 to more than 80 percent in 2016.
The Andrew Goldman Foundation announced in March that Geneseo was among 13 of the 43 campuses in its Vote Everywhere Program to receive the Voter Friendly Campus recognition from CVP and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.