With initiatives such as roundtable discussions, early voting and voter registration drives, Wichita State University has earned a Highly Established Action Plan Seal designation from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.
Wichita State is one of 82 colleges and universities recognized for its commitment to increasing nonpartisan democratic engagement in 2022. This seal is awarded to campuses that have worked to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and graduate engaged voters by building a strong nonpartisan action plan.
“This is so important because it puts Wichita State in a small group of institutions across the country that has made voter and election engagement a priority for our campus,” said Gabriel Fonseca, director of Student Engagement, Advocacy & Leadership. “We continue to provide the space and resources to ensure that students are educated and prepared to vote on election day, even if they are from out of state.”
Wichita State received at least 31.5 of 36 possible points based on the Strengthening American Democracy Action Planning Guide (SADG) Rubric.
Among the initiatives executed by Shockers Vote! Coalition:
- The coalition hosted a polling place in the August 2022 primary (Charles Koch Arena) and have officially become a polling place for both the primary and general elections with the Sedgwick County Election Office.
- Students from all states have been given access to register to vote using the TurboVote platform.
- Shockers Vote! hosts forums, roundtables and opportunities to be engaged in the electoral process, educating our students on how to make informed decisions and talk about what issues are important to them.
- Financial resources from the Student Government Association, Student Engagement, Advocacy & Leadership, and the Division of Student Affairs have made a commitment to provide these opportunities.
- The Shockers Vote! plan has been made adaptable for each election, either during a midterm or presidential year.
“I am so proud of the Shockers Vote! Coalition for their continued hard work to provide a robust and intentional plan to encourage voter and election engagement,” Fonseca said. “We continue to strive to provide our students with the tools they need to make informed decisions at the polls, and we are so deeply honored by this recognition and will continue supporting students with nonpartisan democratic engagement.”
Colleges and universities have a responsibility to prepare students to engage meaningfully in our nation’s democracy, said Dr. Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.
“The role they play in developing the next generation of voters and shaping our future cannot be understated,” she said. “We are proud to recognize Wichita State for working to graduate the next generation of voters by developing and implementing a comprehensive, data-informed campus action plan.”
In 2020, Wichita State earned a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for nonpartisan student voter participation efforts in the 2020 election.
Work by the Shockers Vote! Coalition helped Wichita State increase its voting rate for students by 19.2% from 2016, according to the 2020 National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement.
Wichita State’s 2020 voting rate of 68.1% is above the national 66% rate, according to the data compiled by the Tufts University Institute for Democracy & Higher Education.