WSU Honored for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement
Ogden, Utah — After participating in the inaugural ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national effort to get students across the country engaged in the democratic process, Weber State University was honored with a bronze seal for achieving a voting rate between 50-59 percent in the 2016 presidential election.
“At Weber State, we teach our students to be great citizens in addition to being great employees," said WSU President Charles A. Wight. “I'm proud so many of our Wildcats are participating in the electoral process, and WSU is pleased to be recognized for encouraging their civic engagement.”
Student participation in elections has increased in the past few years. A recent report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, shows that, between the 2012 presidential election and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3 percent in 2016 — a 7 percent improvement.
Weber State’s rate of student voting participation is now higher than the national average. To encourage additional democratic engagement, Weber State sponsored Rock the Vote, a concert and voter registration event at the Ogden Amphitheater, Constitution Week activities, and voter registration drives around campus.
“Citizenship is a habit. For centuries, people who have studied politics have made this point,” said Leah Murray, political science professor. “We have had publicly supported schools for more than two centuries in this country because we need to teach people the habits of citizenship. Good citizens are good employees, good members of the community, and they do the work that needs to be done. Weber State University has an obligation to make sure our students are good citizens in all ways, from community service to political engagement.”
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship and make democratic participation a core value on their campuses. Campuses that participated committed to:
- Convene a campus-wide committee that included members from academic affairs, student affairs, and the student body, as well as other relevant stakeholders;
- Develop and implement an action plan to improve democratic engagement; and
- Participate in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement in order to measure student voting rates.
More than 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.
“I feel that this recognition is a reflection of Weber State’s student body as a whole, who want their voices heard and recognize the value in that,” said Sheldon Cheshire, Student Involvement and Leadership coordinator of leadership programs. “This is a step in the right direction and that we have been recognized for our voter participation is fabulous. The bronze seal designation is indicative that we still have some work to do to educate and empower even more students to become involved in this process.”
For more information about the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, visit allinchallenge.org.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.