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To Vote or Not to Vote: Strategies for Encouraging the Political Engagement of College Students at Catholic and State Universities “From Evangelization.

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Presentation on theme: "To Vote or Not to Vote: Strategies for Encouraging the Political Engagement of College Students at Catholic and State Universities “From Evangelization."— Presentation transcript:

1 To Vote or Not to Vote: Strategies for Encouraging the Political Engagement of College Students at Catholic and State Universities “From Evangelization to Discipleship” Conference University of Notre Dame June 7, 2007

2 Panel Presenters Rachel Tomas Morgan: Overview & Learnings Director, Int’l Service Learning & Justice Educ Ctr. for Social Concerns, Notre Dame Peter Quaranto: ND Rock the Vote Campaign 2004 ND ’06, Marshall Scholar (Univ. of Bradford, England) Kenneth Smith: American Democracy Project at IUSB Assoc. Prof. Dept. of English & Director of the American Democracy Project, Indiana University South Bend Jessica Collado: Research in this area Research Associate, Ctr. for Social Concerns, Notre Dame

3 Format Rachel Tomas Morgan: Context & Learnings Peter Quaranto: ND Rock the Vote Campaign 2004 Kenneth Smith: American Democracy Project IUSB Jessica Collado: Research on Civic & Political Eng Large Group: Gleaming “Promising Practices” Reflections, Challenges, and Questions

4 Setting the Context Why the topic? Why be concerned? “With the outcome of the 2000 election hanging by the thread of a few hundred votes in Florida, citizen regret was widespread. Nearly half of adult Americans (18+) had not voted, and a CNN poll indicated most of them wished they had.” - Thomas Patterson, The Vanishing Voter, 2002 "In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. Believers are called to become informed, active, and responsible participants in the political process... This is about more than one election. It requires an ongoing participation in the political process... The dual calling of faith and citizenship is at the heart of what it means to be Catholic in the United States… Faithful citizenship challenges us to seek a place at the table for all God's children in the elections of 2004 and beyond." -United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Faithful Citizenship, 2004

5 Setting the Context Why focus on this particular cohort, ages 18-29? Statistics from literature provided. In summary, they are a large, growing, diverse, and increasingly active potential electorate. They are highly independent and also centrist. Their vote and political loyalties are still up for grabs.

6 ‘04 & ‘06 Elections: Learning from College Campuses across the Nation Threefold strategy: REM Registration Education Mobilization Create a database Some basics and innovations for Registration -Meet with board of electors and state’s election officals -Plan for deadlines and elections dates -Understand voting -Train Volunteers for effective registration and mobilization -Residential hall based -Frosh Orientation -Online form for faculty to request vol. to register students in class

7 Learnings cont. Education -Partner with Academic Depts. -Work with student clubs/groups -Build website with links Mobilization -Most effective means: tabling, phoning, and canvassing -The more interactive, the greater the mobilization -Timing is important Document and Evaluate Celebrate and Thank Everyone!

8 Notre Dame Voter Engagement Strategies Forming a broad-based leadership committee What’s in a name? “Non-partisan, not bipartisan” “Let 1,000 flowers bloom” Network, Network, Network Getting your name out there Registration ‘everywhere people want to be’ Creating cycles of opportunity Shaping discourse Follow up!

9 Strategies for Research on Civic/Political Engagement Institutional Data Institution wide Freshman and Senior Surveys; Institutional Research; Alumni Studies Online Survey Tools: Use of Voter Registration Database Event Statistics National Data The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) Young Voter Strategies (YVS) Harvard Institute of Politics Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) American Democracy Project

10 Freshman and Senior Surveys Example Questions- UCLA (HERI) Goals Scale: Please indicate the importance to you personally of each of the following (Essential, Very Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important): Influencing the political structure Helping others who are in difficulty Becoming involved in programs to clean up the environment Views Scale: Mark each row (Agree strongly, agree, disagree, disagree strongly) The Federal government should raise taxes to reduce the deficit Busing is O.K. if it helps to achieve racial balance in the schools A national health care plan is needed to cover everybody’s medical costs 1990 Student Information Form (Freshman Survey)

11 Notre Dame 2004 General Election Survey; Collected November 5, 2007

12 Notre Dame 2006 Midterm Election Survey; Collected November 8, 2006

13 In your packet…. Resources/Reference Sheet Tried and True: Campus Voter Registration Strategies Voter Registration and Mobilization Youth Voter Coalition Best Practices Young Voter Mobilization Tactics Schedule and resources from Notre Dame campus political engagement events from ‘04 and ‘06

14 Brainstorming Engagement Strategies Worksheet Small Institution StrategiesMedium Institution StrategiesLarge Institution Strategies Example: Coordinate with other colleges and universities Example: Volunteer Phone-bankingExample: Large training sessions for all volunteers absentee ballot by state in cafeteria In class writing on elections “book” theme; assignments Every immersion program connected to current political issue (usually via ) + contact information Tying into curriculum/interdisciplinar y encourage faculty to really impress upon students different relevant legislation etc. Alums who are elected officials to visit as speakers or in seminars Local officials on campus Debates Incentives (candy) for absentee ballot return Competition for dorm of group with best return rate

15 Large Group Discussion/Questions What do you see as the greatest challenges to engaging college students politically on your campus? Any additional strategies to share? What’s missing? Case studies/stories? Are there ways that faith-based institutions are at an advantage or a disadvantage in mobilizing political engagement? How do/can we use a foundation of service-learning to motivate political engagement?

16 Contact Information Rachel Tomas Morgan Director, International Service Learning and Justice Education, Center for Social Concerns (574) Peter Quaranto Notre Dame Class of 2006 Alum Former Student Coordinator, Notre Dame “Rock the Vote” Ken Smith Associate Professor of English, Indiana University South Bend Coordinator, American Democracy Project (IUSB) Jess Collado Research Associate, Center for Social Concerns (574)


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