SUNY Geneseo President Denise A. Battles has joined more than 160 college presidents and chancellors in committing to full student voter registration and participation in all elections through the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. By signing the pledge, the College committed to ensuring all eligible students are able to register to vote and cast informed ballots in the 2020 general election and beyond. The commitment includes fostering campus cultures that support nonpartisan student civic learning, political engagement, and student voter participation.
Advancing democratic values and civic responsibility is at the core of the SUNY Geneseo mission. “The College is committed to working collaboratively across departments, including the voices of all campus stakeholders, and partnering with our surrounding community to increase electoral participation in 2020 and beyond,” said Nicholas Palumbo, assistant dean of students for leadership and service. “In fostering the development of student leadership and service at SUNY Geneseo, I am fervently committed to empowering all eligible voters to register and turn out to vote.”
According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), report (published at geneseo.edu/vote):
- The number of Geneseo students who voted increased from 335 in 2014 to 1,994 in 2018 (or from 6.3 to 37.5%).
- In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate (AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1%, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7%. Geneseo’s AIVR was 37.5%, more than 31 percentage points higher than its rate in 2014—meaning that its voting rate increase was nearly 12 percentage points higher than the national average.
- Geneseo’s rates of student voter registration also rose in last year’s election, climbing from 64% in 2014 to 83% in 2018, landing it 10 percentage points higher than the national average of 73%.
- In 2014, 3,428 students were registered out of an eligible 5,326; in 2018, that number rose to 4,401 students out of an eligible 5,322.
- Through on-campus, voter registration efforts during the 2019-2020 academic year, efforts at the College resulted in registering more than 700 students to vote.
“Today, young people are truly seeing how the decisions their elected officials make impact their everyday lives, and in this critical time, ensuring that they are able to make their voices heard safely is critical,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “We are excited to partner with higher education leaders across the country to change the culture at colleges and universities around engagement in our country’s political process. We are calling on all college presidents to make this commitment to their students, campuses and communities.”
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The 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 650 campuses, enrolling more than 7.5 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.