St. Lawrence University earned recognition as one of ALL IN’s Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting for 2022.
St. Lawrence was one of 395 colleges and universities named to the list for participating in the ALL In Campus Democracy Challenge, sharing campus voting data with ALL IN, creating a democratic engagement plan, and signing ALL IN’s Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation.
In 2021, ALL IN’s Campus Democracy Challenge awarded St. Lawrence a “Gold Seal” for significantly increasing student-voter turnout during the 2020 presidential election.
“St. Lawrence is proud to be a part of this challenge and of our record of outstanding civic engagement among our student body,” says Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Karl Schonberg. “It’s inspiring to see this generation of voters use their voice and exciting to know that our student body is on the vanguard of efforts to increase midterm voter turnout among young people.”
Throughout the fall semester, student leaders across campus encouraged their peers to cast their vote on Election Day and reminded them of the importance of using their voices at the ballot box.
“Mid-term elections are really important because they provide the opportunity to select people who will represent your state and your interests, decide the president’s agenda, and make policy decisions that directly impact college students,” says Penda Sarr ’24, president of the Black Laurentian Initiative at St. Lawrence. Penda was one of eight participants in a “Midterms Matter” panel discussion in late September that included two other students and five faculty members.
One campus group in particular has played a pivotal role in fostering a culture of civic engagement at St. Lawrence. Leading up to the mid-terms, ambassadors for the Andrew Goodman Foundation hosted workshops and shared resources to help their peers fill out voter registration forms, request absentee ballots, complete and return absentee ballots, find their local polling stations, and secure transportation to local polls.
Catherine Weeks ’24, an Andrew Goodman Foundation ambassador who also took part in the midterms panel discussion, adds that there are other items on the ballot that make a trip to the polls worthwhile.
“The midterm elections are really important for young people to share our opinions on ballot initiatives, whether they concern the environment, voter accessibility, or something else. It’s an opportunity to be heard,” she says.
In addition to panels, classroom discussions, and workshops, St. Lawrence students can engage in civic dialogue while gaining hands-on experience in leadership and politics by being a part of the Thelomathesian Society—the University’s student government organization. They can also join a number of other political organizations like Amnesty International, Model United Nations, Model Organization of American States, SLU Democrats, or SLU Republicans.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national nonpartisan project of the nonprofit organization Civic Nation. It was established in 2016 to encourage student participation in elections and especially midterm elections where young voter turnout is historically low. ALL IN partners with colleges and universities across the country to make civic engagement a facet of campus life.