Lasting Impact: An Andrew Goodman Alumni Q&A With Annabelle Bangs, Binghamton University

Annabelle Bangs was an Andrew Goodman Ambassador at Binghamton University from 2021-2023 where she studied philosophy, politics, and law. She hopes to graduate with a Master of Public Administration while at Binghamton. Annabelle has always thought that voting is a key part of our society, and that the importance of voting is extremely underrepresented by our leaders. As an Andrew Goodman Ambassador, Annabelle worked diligently to educate her peers about the importance of voting and encouraged them to vote in local and general elections.

Tell us about your experience as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador. Was there a campaign you championed as an Ambassador that you are particularly proud of?

I enjoyed my experience as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador to the fullest because I was able to explore how to expand Binghamton’s voting program and fulfill different roles. One of my primary roles, and the work that I am the proudest of, was managing the @BingVotes social media and it was one of my favorite things to do. I was able to launch different social media campaigns and create the @BingVotes TikTok alongside curating our existing social media pages.

What legacy did you leave on campus for future generations of Ambassadors to continue?

I feel like I was able to help re-establish campus connections through my two years as an Ambassador. I became an Andrew Goodman Ambassador in 2021, so my university was still building back from COVID and had lost a lot of our campus connections. But through my work and the work of other Ambassadors, we were able to connect with numerous student groups on campus including our living communities, cultural organizations, clubs, and student government.

As an Ambassador, how did you contribute to creating lasting change and a more democratic culture on your campus?

Through my work as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador, I was able to use my student perspective on the voter engagement committee to create programs relevant and impactful for students. I hosted various events and shared our resources with various offices and clubs on campus. We made sure to always reach the students in ways that worked for them.

How did your time in the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program impact your development as a leader and community member?

My time as an Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Ambassador helped to shape where I wanted to go with my future. I have discovered a new passion for voting-related work and activism surrounding democracy. I felt more immersed in my Binghamton community through my work at the Center for Civic Engagement and The Andrew Goodman Foundation. Also when I became an Ambassador, I was surprised that I could reconnect my role and office with the campus community in a new way. Lastly, I felt more confident in myself and my abilities to lead and connect with others.

Tell us about what you’re doing today. How did your time as an Ambassador inform your continuing education, work, or volunteerism?

I am actually still working at the Binghamton University Center for Civic Engagement while pursuing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I was able to discover my passion for public service and voting rights. In my previous schoolwork, I would undertake academic projects on the voting rights of marginalized groups that I have had the honor of attending conferences. Now I am working with Ambassadors through my role as Civic Engagement Coordinator at Binghamton, I feel fulfilled to help lead a Voting Program alongside amazing colleagues and driven AGF Ambassadors. I hope to continue working in public service and advancing voting rights after I get my MPA.

As an Alumni of our program, how are you continuing to reflect on our story and to carry forward the Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner legacy today?

Even though I have left the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, I am still at Binghamton and still working with The Andrew Goodman Foundation. I am now leading a team of AGF Ambassadors and helping them implement the legacy of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner. I am happy to continue working with the AGF and to work towards preserving their legacy further and expanding voter engagement on college campuses.

What advice would you give to our current Ambassadors?

The advice that I would give to current Ambassadors is to not be afraid to try new things. Take your time as an AGF Ambassador to explore and learn more about history and your goals. I was honored to be an AGF Ambassador because I was able to explore my goals and figure out the direction that I ended up wanting to take my life.

Stay tuned as we continue our Lasting Impact series, featuring alumni of our Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, what they’re doing today, and how they are still living the legacy.