Spring 2023 Roundup: Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere’s Semester Highlights
It’s old news that young voters want to make their voices heard on the issues they care about most. Even in what some may look at as an off-year, organizers are keenly aware of the power we hold in elections. By 2024, Gen-Z and Millennials will make up 40% of eligible voters. With this number in mind and a major election on the horizon, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors have been working to make voting more commonplace and accessible on campuses throughout the nation.
With the statewide elections and new legislation being introduced or passed each month this year, there has been no shortage of reasons to gather and organize. This semester, young people have witnessed the introduction of many pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, multiple train derailments causing ecological damage, an attempted ban on the abortion pill known as mifepristone, 222 mass shootings so far in 2023, and continued displays of police brutality against Black and Brown bodies.
Based on data from The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), we know young people are most energized and mobilized to make their voices heard by issues like LGBTQ+ justice, climate change, reproductive justice, gun control, and racial justice. Young people feel a sense of urgency to address these issues.
Over the course of the Spring 2023 semester, Andrew Goodman Ambassadors:
- Registered 1,107 people to vote
- Held 178 events
- Recruited 14 poll workers
- Engaged with 8,934 people
Voter Registration and Institutionalization
- The Andrew Goodman Campus Team, referred to locally as Cornell Votes, worked with university administration to create an official voter information website at a cornell.edu web address. Andrew Goodman Ambassadors and Cornell Votes members helped design the website to offer site visitors a place to register to vote and learn how to vote on campus, and will continue to monitor the site to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate.
- The Campus Team reached out to East Carolina University’s off-campus housing director to facilitate a partnership. Now, our Andrew Goodman Campus Champion is able to attend a recurring meeting with off-campus apartment property managers to coordinate voter registration support and voter outreach.
- Members of the Andrew Goodman Campus Team at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) helped advise the BGSU Undergraduate Student Government on a campaign to make Election Day a campus holiday. As a result, the Undergraduate Student Government created and passed a joint three-way resolution with the Faculty Senate and the Graduate Student Senate to make Election Day a campus holiday! This will enable students on campus at BGSU to vote without having to worry about missing class!
Civic and Voter Education
- In collaboration with AGF partner Guides.vote, we hosted a brief organizing session via Zoom on how to best utilize their resources ahead of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election on April 4th. With early data showing historic youth voter turnout in Wisconsin, it’s clear again how dedicated young people are to making their voices heard on the issues they care most about.
- Ambassadors at Texas Woman’s University hosted a session where they educated students on the workings of local government and then they collectively walked to the city council meeting happening in their town.
- The Campus Team at North Carolina A&T State University hosted an event that introduced students to the North Carolina General Assembly 101 and its impact on higher education. The team also partnered with the North Carolina Black Alliance to host a civic engagement training with 50 students in attendance!
Youth Voting Rights Advocacy
- Ambassadors at Binghamton University held a series of focus groups with students throughout the semester to identify remaining barriers to student civic and voter engagement on campus. The focus groups covered topics like how to make future class presentations effective and what information needs to be more visible across campus.
- Andrew Goodman Ambassadors at Kutztown University organized a “Pop Off To Your Policymaker” trifold and tabling event complete with popcorn, envelopes, and stamps for students to contact their elected officials.
- After a rise of anti-Asian sentiments expressed on campus, the Campus Team at Towson University held conversations about racism and connected students and community members to resources to support their communities to collectively process in small-group conversations. The Campus Team will continue to host these kinds of conversations in semesters to come.
- Ambassadors at Ramapo College collaborated with the Women’s and LGBTQ Centers on campus to host a presentation and discussion regarding recent events in Tennessee and nationally attacking the trans and queer communities. The event included local faith leaders and a roundtable discussion on how to support the community and the varying ways bills of this nature impact the queer community.
- The Campus Team at Spelman College partnered with the Spelman National Action Network to host a discussion on empowering women, black activism, and prioritizing self care. Spelman College is a college for women, so these issues are top of mind for the team. Students expressed that the event was extremely relevant for them in light of what they are witnessing each day.
- Ambassadors at Pace University organized an event including poster making and voter registration that connected climate justice issues to why people should vote. The participants walked to a public park to hold up signs and protest climate inaction.
Our Campus Teams’ advocacy and organizing events throughout the Spring ‘23 semester are a testament to their commitment to maintaining a just, sustainable democracy. AGF is looking forward to continuing this work ahead of the statewide elections in 2023 and the 2024 Presidential Election, during which young voters will make a substantial impact.
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 currently lives in Orlando, Florida.