UIC earns voter-friendly campus designation again
The University of Illinois Chicago’s commitment to civic democratic engagement continues to earn national recognition.
For the third time, UIC has been named a Voter Friendly Campus by NASPA, the national organization of student affairs administrators in higher education, and the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project. UIC is one of 235 colleges and universities across 37 states and the District of Columbia to receive the accolade for making student engagement programs that encourage students to register and vote a key part of their institutional mission.
The most recent designation, which is valid through December 2022, preserves UIC’s connection with the program, which began in 2017 when the university was part of the Voter Friendly Campus inaugural cohort.
Campuses are evaluated based on their plans, facilitation and analysis of student voter engagement efforts in 2020.
“We faced a lot of challenges with moving our voter education and registration campaign to be entirely virtual in the fall, but we also were able to try out new initiatives,” said Nikki Gottleib, associate director of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. “While we’re very much looking forward to getting back to in-person civic engagement programs for the next election, we hope to continue some of the virtual experiences that we were able to pilot during this historic 2020 election process.”
UIC hosted a successful takeover of the UIC Life Instagram account for National Voter Registration Day, and yielded more than 1,500 new UIC voters through its voting resource website, in partnership with TurboVote, which is designed to provide election information and help voters cast their ballots.
The Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement hosted new virtual workshops in collaboration with UIC Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, Undergraduate Student Government, UIC Speech and the Student Advocacy Coalition. Other civic engagement efforts included virtual debate parties, ballot links, voter education guides, and strong marketing efforts via Zoom backgrounds, and email, social media and online communications.
UIC also served as an early voting location and Election Day polling place with social distancing.
“We look forward to working with the Chicago Board of Elections and UIC’s Government Relations and Advocacy for our future elections,” said Joy Vegara, executive director of the UIC Center for Student Involvement, and Student Leadership and Civic Engagement.
“This year brought incredible challenges to the many professionals on campuses who are dedicated to encouraging and increasing student civic engagement,” said Kevin Kruger, NASPA president. “We are thrilled that in spite of these challenges, a record number of campuses are being honored this year with the Voter Friendly Campus designation. The completion of the Voter Friendly Campus designation process speaks to the unwavering commitment of campus administrators who ensure students are educated about, have access to, and ultimately are empowered to have their voices heard in the democratic process.”
In 2020, Washington Monthly magazine named UIC one of the nation’s best universities for student voting.
NASPA is a 15,000-member association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.
The Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization that works to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies.