Today, Southwestern University was named a Voter Friendly Campus, one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia, by Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The initiative recognizes institutions that have planned and implemented practices encouraging students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and the coming years.

The 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation aims to bolster colleges and universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process – every year, not just during years featuring federal elections. Southwestern was evaluated based on a written plan for how we planned to register, educate, and turn out student voters in 2022, how we facilitated voter engagement efforts on our campus, and a final analysis of our efforts.

As part of our effort to be designated a Voter Friendly Campus, Southwestern continues to strive for 100% voter registration on campus and increase student turnout during elections. The University also hopes to build more cross-campus partnerships with athletics and certain STEM and humanities fields where campus data suggests students are less likely to vote, and with local community organizations like the League of Women Voters of Williamson County.

Navigating the campus community through an election is a lot of work, and we could not be as successful as we are without support from across campus, from the President’s collaboration on registration initiatives to faculty sharing of voting-related information to the facilities staff who set up for the polling place,” Associate Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor said. “It is so wonderful to be on a campus and in a community that supports our right to vote at a time when the same right is increasingly called into question.”

Southwestern has made a strong statement about our civic mission to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is eager to continue engaging students through 2023, 2024, and beyond.

The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses, collectively serving over 3.5 million students. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes 49 Minority Serving Institutions and 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and 41 Community Colleges.

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Their work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights, and legal support organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting and improve election administration across the United States. Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students, and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.