Oberlin, OH — Oberlin College has been designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus.” The initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), holds participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in elections in the coming years. Coordinated on campus by the Office of the Dean of Students, the mission of the Voter Friendly Campus (VFC) designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Oberlin was evaluated based on a plan developed by a coalition of faculty, staff, students, and community members about how to engage student voters, how to facilitate democratic engagement efforts on campus, and an analysis of those efforts.
As part of the effort to be designated a voter friendly campus, Oberlin has helped more than 1,150 students register to vote for the first time or update their registration. Oberlin’s campus coalition worked collaboratively with local nonpartisan organizations including the League of Women Voters and United Citizen Power of Lorain to increase voter registration activities during the college’s First-Year Move-In Day, New Student Orientation, and a host of other activities including Constitution Day.
Oberlin’s VFC student fellow coordinates efforts with student organizations and engages in communication and information initiatives with campus constituencies. On Election Days, coalition members are present at the on-campus and off-campus voting poll sites to ensure availability of student address verification documentation if needed. Students were provided with information on discounts at local businesses when presenting their “I Voted” sticker and an Election Day Party was held in our Student Union.
“Oberlin College has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is excited to continue engaging students through 2020 and beyond,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Life Adrian Bautista. “We are excited to continue the efforts coordinated by a nonpartisan Campus Coalition made up of faculty, staff, students, and community members. Making voting easier, making our democracy stronger, and making citizenship meaningful, ensures that student voters have a voice. That’s our primary goal.”
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Oberlin College is ranked among the nation’s top liberal arts schools, Oberlin College and Conservatory is committed to academic rigor, artistic and musical excellence, and civil engagement in support of a just and equitable world. Founded in 1833, Oberlin was the first college in America to adopt a policy to admit students of color and to award degrees to women in a coed program. Oberlin’s history of academic achievement has led its forward-leaning graduates to challenge conventions and to create meaningful positive change in the world.
NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.
Fair Elections Centeris a national, nonpartisan election reform organization working to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve election administration. Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.
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