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Morningside Students Win Award for Boosting Voter Engagement

Morningside Students Win Award for Boosting Voter Engagement

Morningside University has been given an award for encouraging student voter engagement during the 2020 presidential election.
Student leaders from Col. Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement, and the Morningside Civic Union lead the effort that won 2021 Silver Seal award from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

Morningside associate professor of political science Dr. Valerie Hennings, is the director of the Day center and co-adviser of the civic union. She says when it comes to the 2020 elections, Morningside students were very creative.

“They needed to figure out how could they educate their peers, get folks registered and still turn out the vote in the midst of a global heath pandemic.”

Hennings says students found ways to help people safely register to vote.

“That involves using technology and using resources that are available, non-partisan resources that are available, to get folks interested in the registration process, and educating them when it comes to who would be running and the issues that are at stake.”

Hennings says the Morningside students set up a satellite voting center on campus to encourage turnout, as well as figuring out some fun ways to get peers involved in the political process.

“For the 2020 election, they actually offered rides to the satellite station, which involved the election express. There was a golf cart that was decked out in fantastic election and campaign colors, and giving people rides to the voting booth, and, again, just having those conversations, going to where their peers were.”

Hennings adds that students are often unfairly called apathetic when it comes to the political process. However, she sees students who are passionate about their beliefs, and making the world a better place.

“What I really see my job as is helping them connect the dots, make the connection, see how being a voter and being engaged in the community and in politics, they can ultimately see that change that they want to see in the world.”

More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.