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Virginia Wesleyan Designated as Voter Friendly Campus

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VWU joins campuses nationwide in helping students participate in the political process

University News | April 17, 2019

Virginia Wesleyan is part of a select group of campuses from around the country that received the designation as a "Voter Friendly Campus" for the 2019-2020 Academic Year. This distinction is the result of the University’s efforts to plan and implement practices that encouraged students to register and  vote in the 2018 elections and in the coming years. The designation is valid through December 2020.

The Voter Friendly Campus designation program, which started in 2016 through a partnership between Campus Vote Project and NASPA- Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, has a mission to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process.

Research by Campus Vote Project suggests that college students face special challenges when attempting to register and vote in their college communities. They may lack information about voter registration rules and deadlines, not have acceptable ID for voter registration or voting purposes, not know where to vote, may not have transportation to the polls, and occasionally are confronted by unfriendly or unsympathetic elections officials or poll workers. The Campus Vote Project seeks to address these challenges in advance of Election Day to pave the way for successful student voter turnout.

Virginia Wesleyan’s efforts were evaluated based on a campus plan about how the University would engage student voters in 2018 and how VWU democratic engagement efforts on campus were facilitated.

The VWU plan, coordinated by Brian Kurisky, Director of Wesleyan Engaged: Center for Civic Leadership and Service Learning, included working with staff in Hofheimer Library to provide voter registration information to students, faculty and staff to ensure that they were registered to vote in their assigned precincts. Voter registration cards were readily available, as was assistance with forwarding information to local voter registration sites. Information was also available on absentee ballots. On election day, shuttle service was provided to Good Samaritan Church, the polling place for the VWU community. In addition, VWU volunteers were recruited to serve as election officials at local polls on election day.

“I commend Dr. Kurisky for leading this charge,” said VWU President Scott D. Miller. “The Virginia Wesleyan community worked to break down barriers and empower students with the information and tools they needed to participate in the political process, putting the civic mission of higher education into action.”

The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses.