Silver Seal Award for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement

Published: November 18, 2019 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

Thor holding an "I Voted" stickerPresented by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Southern Utah University has been honored with a silver seal for achieving a student voting rate of 35.9% in the 2018 midterm elections. 

“The Leavitt Center is proud to receive this national recognition on behalf of SUU,” said Mary Bennett, director of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service at SUU. “We will continue our efforts to inspire faculty, staff, and students to participate in the 2020 election. We are committed to reduce voter apathy, increase engagement, and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the country’s, and the world’s, most pressing challenges.”

Overall student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. And according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%. At SUU, the voter rate increased by 18.7 points between 2014 and 2018. 

Led by Bennett, the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service works to increase the civic engagement of students at SUU. Through an action plan to increase civic engagement, the Leavitt Center is working to increase voter turnout rates. The first long-term goal of the Leavitt Center is to increase voter turnout by 10% in the 2020 election. 

Voter turnout numbers are considerably higher during the national elections, so in 2018 the focus was to increase voter education and engagement with state and local elections. To support this goal, the Leavitt Center hosts at least two state or local candidates each semester and has at least one event that covers local politics. 

“We are excited to honor SUU with an ALL IN Challenge silver seal,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “Institutions like SUU are changing the culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service at SUU provides an interdisciplinary hub for leadership training, citizenship education, humanitarian service, and public policy research. Learn more about the Leavitt Center

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