Radford University has been designated as a voter-friendly campus for 2023-2024 by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project.
This designation recognizes Radford among 258 colleges and universities across 38 states and Washington, D.C., that have committed to voter registration, education and turnout as part of their institutional mission.
The Voter Friendly Campus program is designed to help institutions address the many challenges preventing college students from participating in the political process and foster a culture of democratic engagement on their campuses, including in years without a national election.
Institutions were evaluated on their ability to complete a multi-step process, which included engaging students, faculty, staff, community organizations and local election officials to develop a written plan for how the campus community would engage student voters in 2022, as well as facilitate voter education and engagement efforts on campus.
Groups at each institution submitted a written final analysis of their efforts, reflecting on what initiatives worked and those that require change going forward. The designation is valid through December 2024.
The institutions designated 2023 Voter Friendly Campuses include a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses that collectively serve more than 3.5 million students.
“At Radford University, we pride ourselves on Highlanders being leaders in their community,” said Chapman Rackaway, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Political Science. “There are few better ways to show that community leadership than through the simple act of voting. If young people start voting when they first become eligible, they develop it into a practice they follow for life.”
For that reason, Rackaway said, Radford places great value on registering students to vote and provides them with resources to make educated decisions that eventually lead them to polling locations.
Being named a Voter Friendly Campus is recognition for a commitment the university has made to its students and communities, Rackaway noted while crediting Radford University President Bret Danilowicz, interim Provost Marten denBoer and College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Dean Matthew J. Smith for their dedication and support to the effort
“I’m personally grateful to have an incredible voter team that makes this happen, including Radford students, faculty, and staff, and the City of Radford’s director of elections,” Rackaway said. “Most importantly, we have two outstanding students who serve as Democracy Fellows and provide vital leadership in connecting our students with these efforts.”
I’yonah Cartwright and Kally Hughes, both rising seniors, have been instrumental in reaching out to their peers, registering them to vote, and supporting them in their efforts to be voters, the professor said. “I’m excited to continue and advance our efforts into 2023 and beyond.”
In November 2022, Radford University was recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge as one of the most engaged college campuses for student voting in 2022.
Chad Osborne for Radford University
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