Clemson University has become one of more than 231 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus.” The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices encouraging their students to register and vote in the 2020 elections and the coming years. This is the first time Clemson has received the designation.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts helping students overcome barriers to participate in the political process. Clemson was evaluated based on a campus plan to register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2020 while facilitating voter engagement efforts.The designation is valid through December 2022.
Clemson’s designation was based on work by the nonpartisan Clemson Votes, a group of faculty, staff and students working to increase students’ engagement with the nation’s democratic processes. The group’s work has spanned many university offices over the past two years, including Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Gantt Center.
Clemson has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in the democracy and plans to continue that through 2021 and beyond.
Bridget Trogden, associate dean for Engagement & General Education in Undergraduate Studies, said receiving the designation is an indication Clemson is steering its students in the right direction.
“As a land-grant institution, part of what we should be doing is getting our students to engage as citizens and become lifelong participants in democracy,” she said. “This is the right time in many of our students’ lives to instill civic-minded behaviors. Whatever habits you start to develop in your late teens and early 20s are habits that stay with you.”
The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes many Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The program is ultimately serving more than 3.5 million students.