U of M receives national recognition for excellence in student voter engagement
The University of Minnesota has received national recognition for its efforts in increasing student voting. The University received a Silver Seal for achieving a student voting rate of 65.3% at the ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony, the first-ever nationwide campaign to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. The University of Minnesota student voting rate was nearly 15 percentage points greater than the national average for college students in the 2016 election.
“We are honored to receive this recognition. At the U of M, we are driven to increase student engagement in democracy,” said Mike Miller, advocacy coordinator for the University. “Voting is the simplest way to be heard, and it is incredibly important for students to participate in elections and exercise their rights as citizens.”
The University worked closely with student government organizations, including the University’s undergraduate student government, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) in this effort. “Students deserve a voice in politics and one of the best ways to express our voice is to vote,” said Max Hurst, director of government and legislative affairs for MSA. “When we give students the tools to get involved in local, state and national elections, we see real progress in voter participation. MSA will continue to work with student groups, community organizations and administrators to engage students in the political process on every level.”
Across the country, student participation in elections has increased in the past few years. A recent report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy in Higher Education, shows that between the 2012 presidential election and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1% of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3% in 2016—a 7% improvement.
“I am proud to honor the University of Minnesota with an ALL IN Challenge silver seal in recognition of their dedication, hard work, and achievement,” said Zaneeta E. Daver, director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “The U of M is not only ensuring that a more representative population participates in our nation’s democracy, but is educating students to be civic-minded. They are an example to be emulated.”
The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. 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 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016. A full list of seal awardees can be viewed here.