Helped college administrators & student leaders engage students at 280 schools in 21 states in 2014 election. Now preparing schools for 2016
How do we engage America’s 20 million students in key elections? Campus Election Engagement Project empowers America's colleges and universities to help their students register, volunteer in campaigns, navigate daunting new voter laws, educate themselves on candidates, and turn out at the polls. This nonpartisan and tax deductible project has a huge multiplier effect for the resources invested, because it works through administrators, faculty and staff with salaries already paid for by their schools, plus student leaders, helping them use their key positions and resources to engage their students.New donations will be doubled by a current $50,000 matching grant.
In 2014 we worked with reached 280 schools enroling 3.2 million students. Working through academic networks that the schools knew and trusted, we distributed powerful ways to get their students involved, then coached the schools to implement them. We increased student turnout at our schools by 17% over 2010 in a year when youth turnout hit a record low. We brought a projected 150,000-200,000 additional student voters to the polls for a fraction of the cost of traditional voter engagement efforts, while building an ongoing campus culture of engagement.
Approaching schools through administrators and faculty already on the college payrolls, plus student leaders, CEEP state outreach staffers serve as catalysts, resource providers, and coaches. They draw on the most effective approaches from campuses nationwide, like registering voters at first-year orientation, helping students navigate daunting new voter laws, like those requiring schools to totally redo their student IDs to meet their requirements, distributing wonderfully received nonpartisan candidate guides (students say they’re a perfect antidote to a political context where “everyone’s lying and spinnng”) having administrators send out all-campus emails and social media reminders on key election dates, registering voters in nearby low-income communities, and having campus football teams hold up their registration cards at half-time while the Jumbotron displays a registration link.
We've pursued all of these approaches and more since 2012. We're now getting schools ready for 2016, conducting long-lead initiatives like getting campus polling stations and integrating voter registration with first year orientation or classroom registration. And we're laying the ground to hire stipended student Election Engagement Fellows to carry out our work at key schools: The team led by our current Virginia director registered 3,000 fellow Virginia Tech students in 2013.
For every additional $1,000 we raise we can stipend an Election Engagement Fellow at another key campus in 2016, for every $20,000 we can add a half-time state organizer for the entire 2016 year. We’re collaborating closely with Rock the Vote, the student PIRGS, the League of Women Voters,, Turbovote and other national higher education organizations. We’re working with election law specialists like Fair Elections Legal Network to steer our schools through the new voting rules. As our partners consistently stress, no other project is in a comparable position to engage the people who run the campuses, so our outreach will increase their effectiveness too.
Campus Election Engagement Project emerged from Paul Loeb's citizen engagement books, like Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While—books with over 250,000 copies in print—and from his lectures at over 400 colleges. Engaging students in the election is so important that Loeb's invested five years without pay to help make it happen.
But we still have to fund our state organizers and fund our on-campus Fellows. So please give whatever you can and publicize this fundraiser. We even have a dollar for dollar $50,000 matching grant for new contributions. And if you or anyone you know is in a position to give $500 or more, please email and we'll send more detailed info on all that we're doing.
Paul Loeb, founder, Campus Election Engagement Project, email@example.com
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