A couple weeks ago, Rollins received a national delegation as a Voter Friendly Campus, a national recognition led by a couple organizations such as Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA. Rollins College participated in making voting more accessible for students by providing information and different necessities. As the past two elections have shown, young people are the key to winning any election, and Rollins proved that by empowering students and keeping them informed about upcoming events, which helped increase the numbers of student polling. Rollins values its students’ participation in democratic elections, and they demonstrated this by creating events to “rally to the polls.”
The Democracy Project is credited for getting Rollins recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus. The Student Coordinator Destiny Reyes explained that they are non-partisan, focusing on “educating the student body on the democratic process.” Destiny’s role as student coordinator includes planning out different events for students and assisting with the leadership team. The leadership team, as Destiny says, are the ones that dedicate the most time and work to the students. They created many programs to engage students to make voter registration a priority. The Democracy Project was required to create different plans that motivate students to vote, then write up a final campus plan to submit. They took a three-step plan to attain voter engagement: “registration, education, and mobilization.” Each member of the Democracy Project went through extensive training to ensure they were better equipped to assure student participation. The Democracy Project sought out to include more of their members-the more members they could train, the more assistance they can provide to the students.
One of the major focuses for the group is creating a safe environment for students to discuss different pressing issues. Some of these discussions are less formal, like News Round Up at Pinehurst and Politics on Tap at Dave’s Boat House. Some students find smaller environments more accessible and informative when looking at issues that their peers are concerned about. They also facilitated events like the viewing of presidential and senate debates (to stay local); this also allows students to continue staying current with United States politics.
Rollins College has always been true to its mission statement of shaping its students into global citizens, and part of being a global citizen is staying current with world events and being politically engaged. By default, Rollins College adopts the mission of creating a more politically engaged student body from Rollins College, and with that support, the Democracy Project was able to qualify as a Voter Friendly Campus.