At the 2019 ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony, held to recognize colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates, Wayne State University received a platinum seal for achieving a student rate above 50%. Wayne State was one of 61 institutions in the nation — and one of only 2 in Michigan — to earn the platinum seal recognition. A full list of seal awardees is available here.
“Our students are the leaders of tomorrow, and we’re proud to receive this national recognition,” said Dean of Students David Strauss. “Wayne State’s administration, faculty and staff are committed to working together to increase engagement and prepare our civic-minded students to solve local and global challenges.”
Student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points, from 19% to 40%.
Wayne State’s institutional voting rate was 53% in 2018, up from 27% in 2014. WSU’s voting rates were up across all available data sets, including age, gender, class standing and field of study. The full report is available online.
The recognition is the latest in a series of civic engagement achievements on campus, including a surge of interest among WSU’s Student Senate. The most recent Student Senate election drew record numbers of Warriors participating in student government, whether as candidates or voters.
“I am inspired by the fact that the numbers reflect that students are heeding the call to get more civically involved, and we are trying to do our part to lift up the voice of students and provide them with the space to get involved on campus,” said Student Senate President Stuart Baum, who was named a 2019 Newman Civic Fellow and has been appointed to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force. “We are fortunate to be in a state that has just undergone monumental reforms to eliminate many barriers that prevented students from accessing the ballot.”
Earlier this year, Wayne State was designated a “Voter Friendly Campus” through a program sponsored by NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project. WSU was one of 123 colleges across 31 states to earn this designation for promoting voter registration and engaging the student body as part of its institutional mission.
“We are excited to honor Wayne State University with an ALL IN Challenge platinum seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “More institutions like Wayne State are changing culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus.
More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the challenge since its launch in summer 2016.