At the first-ever non-partisan ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Awards Ceremony on Oct. 19, which recognizes colleges and universities committed to increasing student democratic engagement, Western Washington University received a silver seal for achieving a student voting rate between 60-69 percent.
Visit www.allinchallenge.org for a full list of award recipients.
Nationally, student participation in elections has increased in the past few years. A recent report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy in Higher Education, shows that between the 2012 presidential election, and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3 percent in 2016. Western’s data from the ALL In Challenge reveals an active and engaged campus, with 76.2 percent of registered students and 65.9 percent of overall students turning out to vote in 2016.
Emma Scalzo, the Organizing and Outreach Coordinator for Western’s Associated Students REP Office attributes the strong voter turnout to the hard work of several student organizations. “I am so incredibly proud of the work that Western Votes and the REP office accomplished this quarter,” states Scalzo. “Every year, WWU registers more student to vote than all other Washington State universities combine. This year was no exception. Western Votes! staff and volunteers registered 3,483 people to vote in the upcoming election.”
Scalzo believes that the breadth of support on campus was a key factor in their results, noting; “we would not have been as effective without our passionate volunteers, supportive faculty and engaged Residence Halls. The incredibly driven students and committed institutions on our campus made our voter registration and "Get Out the Vote" efforts so successful.”
The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a non-partisan national awards program. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. More than 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.