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K-State Today

February 5, 2020

K-State recognized for excellence in student voter engagement

Submitted by Office of Student Life

Kansas State University received a silver seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for increasing student voting participation from 15.7% in 2014 to 36% in 2018 midterm elections. The seal was awarded at the ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony, which recognizes colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates. 

The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University's Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, collected the data. Read K-State's report. Student participation across the country in elections increased from 2014 to 2018. According to the study, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.

"We are excited to honor Kansas State University with an ALL IN Challenge silver seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation," said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. "More institutions like K-State are changing culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we've seen across the country."

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on campus. More than 560 campuses — enrolling more than 6.2 million students — have joined the challenge since its launch in summer 2016.

Wildcats Vote, a new nonpartisan independent student organization that grew from the 2018 voter participation drives, is preparing an ALL IN action plan for 2020. Hayley Spellman, president of Wildcats Vote and senior in political science and communication studies, said she welcomes other interested students and organizations to contribute their ideas during their weekly Monday meetings from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the K-State Student Union. Not limited to students, the ALL IN Challenge offers a framework for faculty and staff to collaborate in creating a campus climate that encourages political participation and civil discussion.

"K-State is proud to receive this national recognition for our campus community's voter participation efforts," said Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students. "Our faculty, staff, administrators and students are committed to working together to reduce apathy, increase engagement, and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the country's, and the world's, most pressing challenges."