Rollins Earns Voter-Friendly Campus Designation
April 19, 2023
By Gigi Marino
Rollins has once again been recognized as a national leader in engaging students in democracy.
For the fifth straight year, Rollins has been named a voter-friendly campus by a pair of national nonpartisan organizations. The College was one of just 258 universities in the nation to receive the designation for 2023-2024.
The Voter Friendly Campus initiative—led by Campus Vote Project and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA)—distinguishes campuses that foster a culture of democratic engagement and help students overcome barriers to political involvement. It identifies schools that promote voter registration and voting and those that enlist campus communities as part of their institutional mission.
Rollins was evaluated based on a campus action plan to engage student voters in 2022 and how the College facilitated democratic engagement efforts on campus. The College’s longtime leadership in democratic engagement owes special success to the student-led, nonpartisan Democracy Project. This initiative is facilitated by the Center of Leadership & Community Engagement (CLCE) and supports the campus community during and beyond election cycles by creating strategic plans to help students overcome barriers to engaging in the political process.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with such an elite group of colleges and universities,” says Meredith Hein, director of CLCE. “It also further elevates the College’s commitment to civic and democratic engagement. Our Democracy Project team was very intentional about being present at campus events and programming, increasing visibility at different times of day to be available for all students and holding events focused on democratic engagement. The team also visited classes, was active during new-student orientation, and elevated social media content to increase engagement.”
Democracy Project student coordinator Chloe White ’23, a public policy and political economy major, says that the while the group continues to focus on existing initiatives such as driving voters to the polls and educating students on hot-button issues, they’ve also worked to streamline the voting process for out-of-state students who may have problems with their IDs. Working with campus safety, the Democracy Project has made it possible for students to sign the back of their R-cards, which now qualify as proper identification at the polls.
Partnering with local communities is also central to the mission of the Democracy Project. The organization continues to strengthen ties with groups like the League of Women Voters, and this year, they’re focusing on educational rights.
“We want all students to understand the importance of using their voice to vote,” says Hein, “and the impact it can have on their local, state, and federal communities.”
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