Thanks in part to a concerted effort by students, Longwood University has been named a Voter Friendly Campus by the Campus Vote Project, one of just 258 institutions to earn the distinction.
“We are excited that our efforts over the last two years have led to an increase in student voters on campus,” said Cheryl Steele, dean of student engagement who led the effort. “Voting is such an important part of participatory democracy, which is central to our Civitae Core Curriculum. We’ll continue to build on this momentum and work on voter registration and mobilization in a non-partisan way into the future. I couldn’t be prouder of the students who worked so hard to earn this designation.”
We’ll continue to build on this momentum and work on voter registration and mobilization in a non-partisan way into the future. I couldn’t be prouder of the students who worked so hard to earn this designation.Cheryl Steele, dean of student engagement Tweet This
Lancers Vote, a campus-wide effort to increase student voter registration, education, and participation, was launched in 2022 during the mid-term elections. Longwood charted an increase in student voters that year after a spate of initiatives were launched.
“When college campuses help their students register and vote, they’re helping to instill lifelong habits of civic engagement,” said Mike Burns ’05, the National Director of the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project. “By incorporating democratic engagement into their campus life, these schools are opening the door for students to explore what their political beliefs are, and how they want to engage in the democratic process. These efforts are crucial to our country’s democracy.”
Over the last two years, Lancers Vote representatives have participated in statewide meetings and training, held informational sessions for students, launched social media campaigns, and worked with Greenwood Library staff to publicize efforts at the central location on campus. Those representatives were Katya Mayer ’24, Emily Robertson ’24, and Kathryn Holloway ’25. Mayer and Holloway are Campus Vote Project Fellows, and Robertson is Virginia’s 2023 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Faculty and staff from several areas of campus also worked on the voting initiatives, including Greenwood Library staff, Dr. Eric Hodges, Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust, and Jacob Dolence.
Both of the university’s political clubs joined the effort, launching a joint voter registration drive on campus in a show of bipartisanship and unity.
“We have a plan to expand our efforts going into the 2024 election,” said Steele. “That includes working more closely with community leaders, continuing the spirit of collaboration between leaders of the College Democrats and College Republicans, and launching specific outreach to freshmen, who will likely be voting for the first time in their lives next fall.”