Virginia Wesleyan University has joined more than 160 college presidents and chancellors in committing to full student voter registration and participation in all elections through the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN). To support full student voter participation of all eligible students, ALL IN and its Higher Education Presidents Council has launched a call to action for higher education presidents and chancellors to fully engage students in electoral participation.
While college student voter participation in elections increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election, less than half of college students made their voices heard by casting their ballots. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.
“Today, young people are truly seeing how the decisions their elected officials make impact their everyday lives, and in this critical time, ensuring that they are able to make their voices heard safely is critical,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “We are excited to partner with higher education leaders across the country to change the culture at colleges and universities around engagement in our country’s political process. We are calling on all college presidents to make this commitment to their students, campuses and communities.”
By signing the pledge, Virginia Wesleyan University committed to ensuring all eligible students are able to register to vote and cast informed ballots in the 2020 general election and beyond. Further, they committed to fostering campus cultures that support nonpartisan student civic learning, political engagement and student voter participation.
In November of 2021, Virginia Wesleyan University was recognized by the ALL In Democracy Challenge for the Voter Action Plan. The institution tied for Best In Class – 4-year Private Institution among all institutions in the United States. The institution was also recognized as the Best Action Plan for 4-year Institutions within the Virginia Campus Voting Challenge. Between 2016 and 2020, the campus had a 16% increase in the percent of our students who voted (from 49.5% in 2016 to 65.5% in 2020).