The University of Vermont is one of over 200 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia that has been designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus” for 2021-2022. The designation is part of an initiative led by the national nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project (CVP) and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), which held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
The mission of the “Voter Friendly Campus” designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. UVM was evaluated based on a campus plan for registering, educating, facilitating voter engagement efforts and ensuring students turned out to vote in 2020—all in the face of the upheaval caused by a global pandemic.
The designation is valid through December 2022.
As part of the effort, the UVM Department of Student Life and Civic Engagement office partnered with the Campus Election Engagement Project, who provided two
student fellows, Sarah Ladd and Sophie Feldman, to help voter registration and education efforts on campus. The Civic Engagement office also partnered with the marketing and communications team, the Leadership and Social Change Living Learning community, and other student-led voter initiatives to engage students both in-person and remotely as a result of COVID-19 campus policies and protocols.
“The students on our campus are so passionate about cultivating change both on and off-campus. Our office aims to provide students with the tools necessary to be socially conscious, civically-engaged leaders in our community,” said Tanaisha Coleman, assistant director of civic engagement.
“The university has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to
prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is excited to continue engaging students through 2021, 2022, and beyond,” said Tatiana Havens, graduate assistant in the Civic Engagement office.
The institutions designated “Voter Friendly Campuses” represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes many minority serving institutions and historically Black colleges and universities.