How Colleges Encourage Students to Vote

How do colleges get students voting?

Flickr user Joe Hall

It’s presidential election year and I bet you didn’t know it. Just kidding, who doesn’t know it? It’s pretty hard to ignore the election process because it is the main topic throughout the whole year. Colleges and universities, especially, are places where ignoring the situation becomes especially hard. Professors talk about it, students discuss what nominees said or should have said about certain topics, and many outwardly show their support for one candidate or another.

Registration booths

Big campuses plan activities to assure students won’t have excuses such as “I didn’t have time to register” or “I didn’t know where to register”. Throughout the registration process, a lot of universities are selected to be registration centers. A couple of registration booths are located in different places of the campus, places where most students walkthrough, so as many people as possible can register, or at least get an explanation on how to do it.

Races or walk

Some universities organize more interesting activities such as races or walks. The University of Houston, for example, did a “walk 2 vote” back in 2012 to get people attracted to voting. At the end of it, it attracted more than just students. Many young people that were passing by decided to join and get information on how to register and vote in the elections.

Groups of people

Other universities create groups of people who have one task, to go to student dorms explaining to them why voting is important and how they can do it. A lot of young people are certain their vote doesn’t matter, because “what is one vote?” they say. But what if everyone thought that way? If everyone thought their vote didn’t matter no one would ever vote? The election (and democracy) wouldn’t exist. It’s important to make students realize that every vote counts. It’s important to vote because like that we express our desire on the government.

Watch parties

Another cool activity plan by more and more campuses in the US is the Presidential Debate Watch Party. Lots of students get together in the student center or the theater of the university. A big screen is set up and the debate is played live. It gives students the opportunity of watching the debate with other students who may have the same opinions. It even helps them debate about the debate and get to learn things they probably didn’t know. It’s a fun way of making students involve in the whole election process.

Offering extra credit

Another way universities help get students involved in the voting process is by getting them interested in the whole presidential campaign. Depending on the course they teach, some professors make the decision of offering extra credit to those who watch the presidential and vice-presidential debates. After seeing it, they can ask students a couple of question about it. Those who answer correctly get extra points in an exam or assignment. This is a way of making students pay attention to debates. Some of them may do it just for the extra credit. But, once they see the debate and actually listen to what is said in it they can get more interested and inspired to go and vote.

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