Middle Georgia State University (MGA) received a bronze seal at the first-ever ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony that recognized colleges and universities committed to increasing student voting rates.
At the ceremony, held late last fall, MGA received a bronze seal for achieving a student voting rate between 50 percent and 59 percent in 2016.
“Middle Georgia State is delighted to receive this national recognition for our University’s efforts to promote civic engagement among our students,” said Dr. Christopher Lawrence, assistant chair of the Department of History and Political Science who heads up MGA’s ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge chapter steering committee. “Our faculty, staff, administration, and students are committed to continue working together to help our students engage in the democratic process and become active participants in solving the many challenges they face in their communities and beyond.”
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 the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of 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 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3 percent in 2016 – a 7 percent improvement.
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. By joining the Challenge, campuses commit to:
• Convening a campus wide committee that includes members from academic affairs, student affairs, and the student body, as well as any other relevant stakeholders;
• Developing and implementing an action plan to improve democratic engagement;
• Participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) in order to measure student voting rates; and
• Sharing their campus’s action plan and NSLVE results in order to be eligible for a recognition seal and/or awards.
More than 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.
“While having Middle Georgia State’s efforts to date gain national recognition is exciting, we still have plenty of work to do,” Lawrence said. “The improvement in 2016 is something to celebrate, but before that, in 2014, only 23 percent of students at Middle Georgia State voted in the midterm elections, which means that over three quarters of our students didn’t participate in those critical statewide and congressional elections. We’re all aiming to do a lot better in 2018 and beyond.”
ALL IN determines student voting rates based on enrollment records institutions submit to the National Student Clearinghouse (FERPA-blocked records excluded) and publicly available voting files collected by Catalist.
MGA students who are Georgia residents can register to vote or check their voter registration status at https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/welcome.do#no-back-button. Follow MGA ALL IN news on Facebook: @MGAisALLIN.