Civic Engagement Beyond Brown Votes - and Beyond Brown

by Lily Gardner, Savanna Illinger
August 23, 2023

With the 2024 Presidential Election rapidly approaching and many important local elections coming up this year across the country, it is essential to recognize the significant power of your vote and your engagement. Voting is one of the most fundamental features of a democracy. College-aged voters account for almost one-third of the eligible voting population, meaning your engagement holds significant power in shaping public policy.

Make sure you are registered for National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 19. Go to to register to vote or check your registration status, sign up to receive election reminders and apply for your absentee ballot.

As many of our Brown Votes students have said, "Voting is not the ceiling, but it is the floor." For those who aren’t eligible to vote or want to do more outside of elections, there are a number of ways to civically engage the community — from local advocacy to volunteer work with a nonprofit. 

This summer, many of our Brown Votes students brought their work beyond Brown’s campus. Learn about just some of this impactful engagement as we spotlight three students below. 

Josie Alston '25, one of Swearer Center’s Civic Engagement Fellows, has spent the summer as a grassroots organizing intern with Ocean State Ranked Choice Voting. This non-partisan, statewide organization is trying to bring ranked-choice voting (RV) to Rhode Island. Alston has been canvassing, contacting various organizations to establish partnerships and managing social media communications. She considers this role “a natural continuation of Brown Votes' work on campus but with a more specific policy focus.” She goes on to say, "In advocating for CV, we're examining the ways in which people participate in democracy, and we've recognized that the way we currently vote does not truly represent the will of the people."

This summer, Brown Votes Advocacy Chair Logan Tullai '25 served as the National Director of Non-Legislative Advocacy for Every Vote Counts (EVC). EVC is a student-led, non-partisan organization working to expand voter access and turnout nationwide and support civic engagement on college campuses. Tullai’s summer role focused on institutionalizing measures that improve voting access and turnout. For instance, he's worked on integrating voter registration and civic engagement with other pre-existing structures, such as orientation or course registration. He also advocated for non-instructional days on Election Day (a change Brown recently made!). Tullai shares his excitement “to bring this thinking back to Brown Votes and other partner campuses to boost college voting rates across the country.”

Maize Cline '26, one of Brown Votes Outreach & Partnerships Co-chairs, has spent the summer working on federal childcare policy for the National Women's Law Center. She says, “This work has made me consider the myriad accessibility issues that women face in order to maintain a job when they have children and the interventions that are necessary in our current social support structures to truly support them.” Through this work, she shared that she knows that advocating for more accessible child care will always be a part of the way she thinks about voting and broader public policy issues in the future.

To see more student work from this past summer and this coming semester, follow @brownvotes on Instagram. Register to vote and learn about civic engagement opportunities beyond voting; join Brown Votes at the Swearer Center's Open House on Tuesday, September 12, from 2 - 4 p.m.