Shenandoah University has been named a 2023-24 Voter Friendly Campus by the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. SU is one of 258 campuses in 38 states and Washington, D.C., to earn the designation, which recognizes institutions that have planned and implemented practices that encourage students to vote.
According to a Voter Friendly Campus press release, the mission of the 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation is to “bolster colleges’ and universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process” each year. Shenandoah was evaluated based on a written plan for how it planned to register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2022, how it facilitated voter engagement efforts on campus, and a final analysis of SU’s efforts.
At Shenandoah, we are fortunate that the university climate promotes community service and civic engagement. Teaming up with Voter Friendly Campus has provided us with tools that have proven effective for reaching out to our campus community and improving voter engagement. Their guidelines help us learn how to collaborate with other campus and community partners, how to interpret voting data from the previous election, and how to create short-term and long-term goals to increase voter education and engagement on campus. Our aim is to continue focusing on this engagement every year, not just during presidential election years, and to further our community’s connection with voting and advocating for the issues we care most about.”
Rebecca Gibson, Shenandoah University’s director of civic engagement
As part of its effort to increase voter engagement on campus during the 2022 elections, Shenandoah University’s Center for Civic Engagement invited local congressional candidates to campus to speak to students and answer questions, encouraged students to register to vote during special on-campus events, held an Election Day celebration on Shenandoah’s main campus, and drove students to local polling places on Election Day and multiple times during the early voting period so that they could cast their votes.
The Voter Friendly Campus press release notes that the institutions who have received the designation represent a “wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses collectively serving over 3.5 million students,” including 49 minority serving institutions, 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 41 community colleges.