Northeast Mississippi Community College became one of over 235 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus” ealier this month.
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 that encourage their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Northeast was evaluated based on a campus plan about how it would register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2020, facilitate voter engagement efforts on our campus, and a final analysis of the effort- all in the face of the upheaval caused by a global pandemic. The designation is valid through December 2022.
Will Bowlin, Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Committee (CLDE) sponsor, shared some of the activities the group sponsored/co-sponsored that were part of the effort for Northeast to be designated a voter friendly campus
“Over the past year, the CLDE committee co-sponsored a voter registration drive and hosted two Zoom guest lecture sessions,” Bowlin said.
“We were able to schedule one of the members of the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag to discuss the process they engaged in, as well as the mayors from Starkville and Oxford to talk about their work in larger college cities. The Zoom sessions were especially beneficial because they provided a connection between what students learn in the classroom and real-world events.”
Northeast made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is excited to continue engaging students through 2021, 2022, and beyond.
“In addition to preparing Northeast students for the workforce, we want to instill a civic mindset that will influence them long after they’ve departed from campus life,” Bowlin explained. ‘The Campus Vote Project offers a system that allows us to assess our efforts in meeting this goal.”
Northeast’s CLDE committee is in its first year.
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 over 3.5 million students.