Six Ways to Stay Civically Engaged Between Elections

The periods between presidential elections experience steep drop-offs in civic participation among college students, but maintaining motivation and momentum is just as important now as ever. How can students stay engaged in civic life—not just every four years—but in everyday life?

Working toward just and equitable communities requires year-round commitment to campus involvement and social action. Here are six ways that our Vote Everywhere Ambassadors champion civic engagement across 59 college campuses—even between elections:

  1. Legislation

    Vote Everywhere Ambassadors at Western Carolina University (WCU) in Cullowhee, North Carolina, are gearing up to advocate for voter registration on campus as a standard component of new student orientation. Joanna Woodson, WCU’s team leader, shared that the WCU team is “going to push for online voter registration in North Carolina as a whole,” too.

  1. Policy Change

    According to Rachael Cohen Hamilton of Kutztown University’s VE team in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Ambassadors are cosponsoring an event that will bring ACLU lawyers to campus “to explain to people what their rights are and how they can seek help if they feel they are being discriminated against.” And the Kutztown team isn’t stopping there! They also plan to petition the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PSSHE) to change the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day.

  1. Workshops

    Hosting civic workshops is on the docket for VE Ambassadors at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. The “Your Political Voice” workshops, to be taught by university faculty, will cover “contacting your representatives, contacting the media, petitioning, and protesting,” reports VE team leader Katherine Liming.

  1. Facilitating Conversations

    The VE team at the University of Dayton plans to host discussions in the Torch Lounge on campus, too. Liming says that VE Ambassadors will facilitate a “Coffee and Conversations” series, where students can speak with Ambassadors and peers about issues and current events in a welcoming, nonpartisan space.

    Similarly, Erick Jenkins confirms that VE Ambassadors at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, plan to lead monthly conversations about race and other issues that interest or concern students on campus.

  1. Community Engagement

    Another way Vote Everywhere Ambassadors regularly engage in their communities is by connecting with local organizations (like the ACLU in Kutztown) that represent issues they are passionate about. By networking, ambassadors can cover more ground and amplify their voices for the causes that matter to them. They can also connect students to volunteer opportunities right in their backyard.

  1. Local Elections

    Remember, college students can have a powerful impact at the local level—on their campus or in the surrounding community—through voting and contacting local representatives. VE Ambassadors ensure that other students and local residents are informed about local elections and when and how to register and vote.

During their time on campus, students can affect meaningful and positive change in the campus community and for new incoming students. Together with Vote Everywhere student ambassadors, The Andrew Goodman Foundation pledges to stay active over the course of the next four years. How will you take action?

 About The Author

Margaret Sasser is the Program and Communications Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. Margaret is passionate about civil rights issues and helping students to become active and engaged members of their communities.