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GSU receives Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting award

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Governors State University (GSU) has been recognized for its efforts to increase student voter turnout with the 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting award.

In receiving the award, GSU joins a group of 394 colleges and universities recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which empowers institutions to achieve excellence in student democratic engagement. The award comes after college students were part of a significant portion of young voters who casted their ballots in the midterm elections. It was the second-highest youth turnout in a midterm in three decades, according to NPR. 

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Crystal Harris, a staunch advocate for student voting and member of GSU’s Students Learn Students Vote coalition, is proud to see that her and her colleagues' efforts paid off, after they specifically targeted their outreach for 18 to 29 year olds. She’s a firm believer that voting begins with voter education and a champion for helping students understand the power of their vote. 

“As a public institution that depends on elected officials to fund higher education, we cannot afford to pretend other voters will care about higher education,” she said. “If the "educated" are not engaged, then those funds can easily be directed to other important statewide priorities.”

For years, GSU has been a beacon for encouraging civic engagement by promoting voter education, voter registration, and healthy political dialogue. This year, first year studies classes were exposed to voting through literature, documentaries, projects and community organizers. The university also hosted voter registration drives and panel discussions where students shared why voting matters to them.

Dr. Harris said she looks forward to expanding on the work GSU has already done to get more students to cast their ballots. 

“I would love for more programs and departments to become stakeholders in this process. If we all examine what we can do to normalize a culture of voter engagement year-round,” she said, “we won't have to "get ready" if we stay ready. We pay taxes year-round, and we teach and learn year-round.  Our real goal through this coalition is to build capacity so that every GSU student is choosing to vote from a place of confidence in their knowledge of the process.”

The full list of institutions earning this recognition is available here