Voter registration in McVittie College Union (SUNY Geneseo/Keith Walters '11)
SUNY Geneseo is among 123 campuses in the country recently designated a “Voter Friendly Campus” through a program sponsored by NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project (CVP). The program requires campuses to engage their student body and promote voter registration and voting as part of their institutional mission. The goal of the Voter Friendly Campus designation program is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process and develop a culture of democratic engagement on campus.
Throughout 2018, campus representatives participated in training to develop, implement and report results for engagement programs that encouraged their students to register and vote. Campuses were evaluated on their ability to complete a three-step process: Writing a campus plan about how they would engage student voters in the fall of 2018; facilitating voter engagement efforts on their campus, and writing a final analysis on their efforts.
Geneseo’s Task Force on Voter Registration and Engagement is an ambitious student-driven voter registration effort to have students complete voter registration forms; a voter education program, which included such things as Constitution Day events, Meet and Greet the Candidates event and a candidates forum; and a get out the vote campaign on Election Day.
Three student coordinators and Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere Ambassadors, Patrick Buckley ‘19, Leah Christman ‘19, and Dilynn Livesey ‘19 organized the student volunteers and hosted several of the events and programs with direction from Nicholas Palumbo, interim director of Leadership and Service.
“I am astounded by the deep commitment of our students and members of the Task Force on Voter Registration Engagement in educating and motivating students and others on our campus to participate in our political process,” said Palumbo. “Civic responsibility is at the core of the Geneseo experience, engagement in our democratic processes create the conditions for the development of ethical and engaged citizens.”
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 a large number of students who had registered to vote.
Participants in the candidate forum included major party candidates for positions in the House of Representatives; the New York State Assembly and Supreme Court. This year’s efforts also resulted in the registration of over 1,000 students.
The College’s designation as a Voter Friendly Campus is valid through December 2020.