North Carolina Compact used CEEP funds to support additional staff time, create a model election engagement website hat other states then replicated, and provide mini-grants—an idea they’d pioneered in 2008, when our National Director Jonathan Romm helped run their election efforts. They reached out to all 44 member campuses with a combined total enrollment of 263,000 students. At their annual student leadership conference, keynoted by CEEP founder Paul Loeb, 18 campuses inspired students to get out the vote on Election Day and to remain engaged beyond the election. They also arranged talks for Loeb at Western Carolina University, Western Piedmont Community College and University of North Carolina Pembroke. The Compact integrated CEEP materials into their regional meetings, hosted a Fair Elections Legal Network webinar and additional webinars on Get out the Vote approaches. They brainstormed with schools on weaving the election into courses, distributed Loeb’s article on overcoming cynicism to faculty, and held a “Why I Plan to Vote” video contest, where campuses posted testimonial student videos about why voting matters. North Carolina Compact’s mini-grants supported voter registration drives, issues dialogues and debates, candidate forums, local election guides, and transportation to the polls.
Individual highlights: High Point University sent students to each of the conventions, then interviewed them and posted the videos to get other students engaged. Wake Forest University’s “Wake the Vote” sponsored forums, dialogues and debates, and a registration drive. Residence Life distributed a “Proof of Residency” form to help students register and participate in early voting. The University also provided shuttles to the polls, beginning in the early voting period. WFU reported, “Due to the generous support of the CEEP-NC grant, we were able to design a logo and print stickers that unified all events and made visible our election-related efforts.”
Western Carolina University created 20 election-related events, saturating the fall term. Their student-led committee created a voter training seminar that met twice a week for 10 weeks straight, helping register 1300 new voters. The school’s Center for Service Learning served as the non-partisan hub for all voting efforts and a one-stop shop for student election engagement. They hosted four Debate Watch parties—two presidential, one vice-presidential, and the Bill O'Reilly vs. Jon Stewart debate—starting each with a discussion about related issues, and following them with a mini-quiz with prizes from the campus bookstore. WCU Voter Shuttles transported nearly 800 voters during early voting and on Election Day.
Western Piedmont Community College distributed CEEP resources throughout their campus, including mini-posters that they printed and customized, and created a visible mock election booth on the college commons where students participated in “Pick the President Plinko” and watched a “Battle of the Champions” Presidential Candidate Faux Boxing Match. As Director of Enrollment Management Jennifer Propst told Paul during his visit, “Your resources all came at exactly the right time, and were exactly what we needed to get students engaged.”
Warren Wilson College worked with the Board of Elections to get students voting in the appropriate district, having some actually recast ballots during early voting which required them to be provisional. The student votes were challenged in one district by the candidate who initially won, but then later lost by 13 votes after provisional ballots, including those of their students, were counted. This race not only determined who would represent this district on the county commission, but also changed the majority on the board. Read more about WWC's impact here.
Campus Highlight - Elon University
During weekly all-campus gatherings at Elon University, students, faculty and staff were asked to select the topics they’d most like debated, which were health care, same-sex marriage and the economy. Four teams were then created representing the Democratic, Republican, Independent and international perspectives and including students, faculty and staff members. The host of the nationally syndicated NPR show “The Story” moderated the debate, and 400 students attended.