Vote Everywhere: Creating a Culture of Civic Engagement on Campus
By January, Vote Everywhere schools will serve over 1 million students. Our Ambassadors hone their organizing skills and develop their leadership potential by engaging their peers and impacting their campus culture.
Students who become Vote Everywhere Ambassadors usually have a desire to change the world for the better. They are compassionate – they care about others – and passionate – they care about issues. They connect the dots between issues they care about and the ballot box. They are inspired by the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s and also by Andy’s example: a college student who took action to address injustice. We give them a platform and the support they need to develop their leadership potential.
Our program is unique because we partner with colleges and universities to give young people the experience they need to become tomorrow’s leaders. As a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, our young trainees learn how to organize by registering their peers to vote, but – even more important – they educate others about issues and form coalitions to take action. Our Ambassadors serve for up to three years, which gives them the opportunity to develop and hone the skills and confidence they will need to make change happen.
Vote Everywhere evolved over the past three years from a three month program to a three year program. We realized early on that training leaders takes time and resources and that to have an impact, our program needed to be part of the structure of the University. Our University partners provide us with faculty or staff to mentor our Ambassadors. These Campus Champions are our boots on the ground. They insure that the program will continue to grow and train new Ambassadors over the long term.
We can see that Vote Everywhere is helping to create and sustain student involvement in the democratic process on college campuses – and we know that this participation will continue when they leave campus. Our goal is to spread our culture of participatory democracy across the nation. We want Civic life to be as powerful a force on campus as Greek life.
Visit Vote Everywhere: www.andrewgoodman.org/Vote-Everywhere/
About the Author
Sylvia Golbin-Goodman is the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and a member of its Board of Trustees. She leads the Foundation’s programming and developed the Hidden Heroes Awards.