From the Frontlines, Andrew Goodman Campus Teams Celebrate NVRD 2019
On Election Day, every vote is attached to a voice. Sadly, young voters disproportionately face barriers when trying to have their voices heard. Disheartened students may discover their student IDs are non-compliant voter IDs. Or their voter registration has been purged from the poll books due to tiny discrepancies. Students who have just moved to campus and began college may miss the registration deadline. Young voters may not be aware of an absentee or provisional ballot option until it is too late. However, voter registration efforts aim to empower them to make their voices heard.
Annually, the fourth Tuesday of September is celebrated as National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Civic engagement organizations partner with communities and volunteers to celebrate democracy and spread awareness of voting opportunities to as many potential voters as possible. This year, NVRD volunteers and partners registered over 470,000 voters nationally. At the community level, The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) participated to prepare voters for local and state elections on November 5th and beyond.
Andrew Goodman Campus Teams’ Snapshots
Andrew Goodman Campus Teams worked to rally their peers on campus. As a result, 47 Campus Teams registered over 2,900 voters in preparation for the 2019 General Elections. Always adaptive, the Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Louisiana State University celebrated early on September 19th in preparation for an earlier election than most. Creativity shined through at Simpson College’s S’mores and Civic Engagement event.
At Arizona State University (ASU), the Andrew Goodman Campus Team joined efforts with the Community Assistant network. Community Assistants joined the Campus Team’s tabling efforts in residence halls and the main student center. They offered familiar faces to attract students to register. Separately, the team secured Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to assist the team with voter registration.
Voter registration efforts continued at the University of Alabama. A local news station covered their Campus Team throughout the morning, with three Andrew Goodman Ambassadors being interviewed live on-air about The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission and role on campuses across the country. UA’s Team Leader Ben Leonard praised the Campus Team’s skill and poise in coordinating a media visit and adjusting their tabling schedule to accommodate the camera crew.
Tasty treats accompanied East Carolina University’s (ECU) NVRD celebration. Ben & Jerry’s set up a chest of ice cream alongside the Andrew Goodman Campus Team’s voter registration table in support of the team’s mission to register voters. Student engagement continued after Ben & Jerry’s distributed over 400 ice cream cones. As the team was packing up, Ambassador Evelyn Tovar reported the team kept the tabling session open an extra half an hour at the students’ request.
Numerous teams shared memorable moments about their NVRD experiences. From Arizona State University, Ambassador Ayesha Ahsan treasured the leadership tips and mentorship Secretary of State Katie Hobbs offered her. Team Leader Cyrus Commissariat connected with Secretary Hobbs through humor and policy issues affecting his ASU peers.
Looking Forward, Building Momentum
Without a doubt, NVRD was an overall success. But how do teams plan to maintain the momentum on their campuses? All teams are prioritizing direct engagement with students. Commissariat and Ahsan highlighted the value of connections formed with students. Students connect to issues that interest and affect them such as college tuition, climate change, education, and women’s rights. ECU’s Team Leader Hunter Whittington and Tovar summarized all three teams’ experiences best. The personal relationships that build and maintain working groups, on- and off-campus, enabled them to expand their efforts. The more these groups work together, the more they can uplift their peers’ voices as well as their own.
Congratulations to all Andrew Goodman Ambassadors and Campus Champions on your successes!
About the Author
DJ Dreeland is the Communications and Development Assistant at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. While pursuing her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Centenary University, Dorothy discovered a passion for civic engagement through student-led groups and community outreach positions. She expanded her skills in stakeholder engagement, marketing, and organizational leadership by earning her Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University. Prior to her AGF position, DJ worked at nourish.NJ as a Volunteer & Market Coordinator. She led congregational, community and corporate volunteers in serving meals and organizing weekly Free Farmers Markets.