Seven Key Ways to Act

How do we engage America’s 20 million students in our nation’s elections?

The Campus Election Engagement Project works with campus administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders, providing the support needed to engage their students in local, state and federal elections. We combine resources drawn from colleges and universities throughout the country with personalized coaching: guiding campuses on how to use these resources to navigate students through ever-changing barriers to voting.

What makes our approach effective?

Student voting doesn’t just happen. It takes cultivation. We’ve developed seven key areas of electoral engagement to create a road map for increasing your level of success, areas that complement each other as you effectively engage your campus. You don’t have to do everything on this list to make a major difference, but it’s crucial to address all seven areas — choosing approaches that fit your campus best. The earlier you start the better, particularly for approaches that take significant institutional planning.

1. Build a team. No one can engage an entire campus, so create a core group to coordinate engagement efforts, divide up the work and ensure key stakeholders communicate.
2. Register students to vote. It’s the first step to student electoral participation. Set campus-wide goals and plan ways to implement them.
3. Educate students on issues and candidates. Offer clear information on where candidates stand, so students can make informed choices.
4. Help students to volunteer with partisan or nonpartisan campaigns of their choice. Early civic involvement patterns tend to stick, and this makes future participation more likely.
5. Build election excitement and visibility leading up to Election Day, using every appropriate channel.
6. Get out the vote. Make sure students know where to vote, when to vote and what to bring. Combine face-to-face and online technologies to engage all eligible students.
7. Measure your impact. Document your work as you go so you can see what works and what doesn’t, monitor your progress and build a foundation for the future.