UofSC has been designated as a "Voter Friendly Campus"
This recognition is given to institutions that have developed plans to coordinate faculty, staff and students to be more engaged in civic voting.
By Catherine Jobe
The University of South Carolina has been designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus” for the 2019-20 period. This recognition is given to institutions that have developed plans to coordinate faculty, staff and students to be more engaged in civic voting.
“Prior to fall 2018, UofSC had limited civic engagement programming that did not provide an intentional focus on voter engagement and civic literacy,” says Carly Zerr, a leadership coach at the Leadership and Service Center. “To change that, our long-term goal is to create a culture of year-round civic engagement on campus.”
Work began last fall by developing the student organization Civic Leadership Education Action Team to lead the efforts, Zerr says.
To increase voter registration rates, the university held seven voter registration events, partnered with Student Government on a “Gamecocks Vote” campaign and organized a voter registration competition.
UofSC hosted guest speakers including alumni Josh Dawsey, a White House reporter for the Washington Post, and Bakari Sellers, who previously served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, who shared their experiences in politics and government to boost students’ civic literacy.
The university also screened a documentary, held an advocacy workshop and sponsored student leaders’ attendance at the Southern Collegiate Leadership Conference.
“We made some major progress this past year by increasing the number of students registered to vote and enhancing civic literacy. That being said, we still have a lot of room for growth and the only thing that can truly change the culture is buy-in from students, and their desire for social change. Our democracy doesn't just need voices, it needs a variety of different voices and we are aiming to elevate all perspectives to enhance our democratic processes,” says Zerr.
The Voter Friendly Campus initiative is led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASPA and supports efforts that help students participate in our democracy.
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