Fall 2023 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights
While various issues drive young people to the polls, just as many barriers prevent or discourage young voters from sharing their voices. Between the conflicts we’re facing internationally, the attacks targeting queer people and the right to choose in the United States, 2023 has been full of reasons to stay informed and involved. Our Andrew Goodman Ambassadors are keenly aware of these issues and how they impact young people. They are also aware of the apathy toward voting that many young people feel and are purposefully organizing to connect the ‘why’ behind the vote for each individual they can speak with. From Civic Holidays to Election Day in November, here are some highlights from the Fall 2023 Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Semester.
Voter Registration and Institutionalization
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Cornell University worked to get their vote.cornell.edu website they created last year as the reliable, institutionalized voter education resource on campus, getting it sent out via campus-wide email and embedded on major campus pages and the new student checklist.
- The Campus Team at Elon University is working with their Phoenix Card Office to help students switch to student IDs that are compliant with North Carolina voter ID law.
- This semester, Pace University held its first Asynchronous Election Day, where students did not have to attend class so that they could exercise their right to vote and serve as poll workers.
Civic and Voter Education
- This semester, the Campus Team at St. Lawrence University visited every first-year class on their campus to give their presentation on voter registration and civic engagement!
- In mid-October, Montclair State University hosted Councilwoman Jennifer Williams- Trenton City Council’s first LGBTQ+ member and the first transgender person elected to any municipal council statewide. Councilwoman Williams won the election by just one vote, so she used this experience to stress the importance of local elections. The Campus Team tied this in with national coming out day, celebrating the queer community on their campus. In addition, the team created and rolled out their “Advocacy 101” presentation that equipped students with the knowledge and tools they need to advocate for issues they care about.
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Dillard University tabled at the university’s voter registration festival, highlighting Andrew Goodman’s connection to social justice and sharing the organization’s journey from its inception to its current initiatives. The table served as a platform to educate attendees about the historical context of the organization, its founding principles, and the ongoing commitment to advancing various causes, particularly in the realm of youth voting rights and civic engagement. The goal was to inspire and inform students about the foundation’s impactful work, fostering a deeper understanding of its mission and encouraging active participation in social justice endeavors on campus and beyond.
- North Carolina A&T State University hosted a “BE the Change” voter education event on October 3rd. The campus team partnered with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated chapter on campus. The program focused on the intersectionality between social advocacy and voter engagement. The speakers included Jelani Favors, professor of history and Director of Social Justice, and Marcus Bass, the Executive Director of North Carolina Black Alliance.
Get Out The Vote (GOTV)
- Every day between the voter registration deadline and Election Day in Ohio, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors and Bowling Green State University volunteers phone-banked to get out the vote. They were able to contact over 1230 students!
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Stony Brook University hosted a one-day event that was a play on the common saying, ‘the early bird gets the worm,’ where students took a bird cut-out, wrote their names, and placed it on any of the early voting dates marked on the calendar indicating the day they plan to vote early. They would then get a bag of gummy worms, making them the ‘early bird that gets the worm!’
- On Election Day, two separate Campus Teams, Pace University in New York, NY, and Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX, organized poll walks to gather students to get out the vote and encourage civic engagement.
- On National Voter Registration Day, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Spelman College hosted a voter registration drive, where they educated the campus community on all things civic engagement at Spelman while registering voters!
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at The University of D.C. celebrated National Voter Education Week (NVEW) by sending out a YouTube playlist made by Rock The Vote on civic and voter engagement to professors to share with their students.
- For National Voter Education Week, Ramapo College of New Jersey hosted a different event for each day during NVEW!
- Monday – Ballots and Bubble Tea with pledges to vote, voter registration, and civic education.
- Tuesday – Mail-in Ballot Party with pizza where the team showed students how to vote absentee.
- Wednesday – Empanadas and Engagement – the team presented on AGF, “off-years,” and how to get engaged on their campus while creating voting plans. The team also did an Instagram Takeover this day where they shared clips of their day and event on AGF’s Instagram.
- Thursday – The Campus Team hosted an event where students had a space to talk about the frustrating process of voting while being a student and how apathy is not the answer. They also focused on hearing students’ opinions on how the office and AGF can help them navigate the various barriers they face as student voters.
- Friday – The team had a bagels and ballots day, with students creating voting plans and making pledges to vote.
With 2024 quickly approaching, our Andrew Goodman Ambassadors, Campus Champions, and Vote Everywhere team are continuing to build the momentum we will bring with us into 2024 and beyond. As young people increasingly recognize the power of our voices and votes, we aim to help build campus communities where being a student voter is the norm. Young people are paying attention and speaking in support of a more just, equitable democracy for the future we will create. It’s up to us now to listen and learn from the leaders of tomorrow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Matthews is the Program and Communications Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her position, she works with student leaders and in communications surrounding their work. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.