Brown University Recognized in D.C. for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement

by Swearer Center Staff
October 19, 2017

Today, at the first-ever ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates, Brown University was honored as Best in Class Award for having the most improved student voting rate within the four-year, medium, private institution category. The institution also earned a Bronze Seal for achieving a student voting rate between 50 and 59%.

More than 30 awards were announced at the event that took place at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum. A full list of award winners can be viewed online.

“Brown University and the Swearer Center are proud to receive this national recognition for our efforts,” Swearer Center Executive Director Mathew Johnson said. “Our faculty, staff, administrators, and students are committed to working together to reduce apathy, increase engagement, and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the country, and the world’s, most pressing challenges.”

Mara Pillinger, Adjunct Professor at the Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs, and Brown University student Christina Chu ‘18 accepted the award on Brown University’s behalf. Chu is studying in Washington, D.C. through the Brown in Washington program, a partnership between the Swearer Center and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Participants in the Brown in Washington program spend a semester in Washington, D.C., where they intern with a public or nonprofit agency while completing coursework with faculty from the Watson Institute.

Student participation in elections has increased recently, according to a recent report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy in Higher Education. The report shows that between the 2012 presidential election, and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1% of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3% in 2016 – a 7% improvement. Brown University’s data reveals a 59% student voter rate, an increase of 13.2% from 2012.

“I am proud to honor Brown University with an ALL IN Challenge award in recognition of their dedication, hard work, and achievement,” said Zaneeta E. Daver, director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “Brown is not only ensuring that a more representative population participates in our nation’s democracy, but is educating students to be civic-minded. They are an example to be emulated.”

The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. By joining the Challenge, campuses commit to:

•      Convening a campus-wide committee that includes members from academic affairs, student affairs, and the student body, as well as any other relevant stakeholders;

•      Developing and implementing an action plan to improve democratic engagement;

•      Participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) in order to measure student voting rates; and

•      Sharing their campus’ action plan and NSLVE results in order to be eligible for a recognition seal and/or awards.

Nearly 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.