October 28, 2022

Warriors vote: Campus civic engagement continues

Members of the Wayne State PIRGIM Campus Action group share election resources in the Student Center.
Members of the Wayne State Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM)Campus Action group share election resources in the Student Center.

Campus community encouraged to make voting plan

Wayne State University students made sure their voices were heard in the 2020 presidential election, as the university had a voting rate of 73.5% — more than 7% above the national average. WSU’s student voting rate was up across all ages, gender, and racial and ethnic groups.

It was a significant increase from the 2018 voting rate of 52%, as 16,840 students voted in the 2020 election, compared to 11,755 in 2018. In 2016, the previous federal election year, 13,056 students voted.

Wayne State’s voting rate report comes from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), creators of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE. The full report is available online.

“Wayne State has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy,” said Dean of Students David Strauss. “Our students have taken that mission onto themselves and their dedication to civic engagement affirms that they are community-minded leaders with the drive to inspire change and solve local and global challenges.” 

Institutional Voting Rate (Students)

  2014 2016* 2018 2020*
Voter Participation Rate 28% 60% 52% 73%
Voter Registration Rate 65% 74% 81% 90%
*denotes a federal election year

Wayne State encourages students, and all members of the campus community, to vote in the 2022 midterm election. Election Day – Tuesday, November 8, 2022 – is a university-wide holiday. The on-campus polling location located in the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Wayne State Law School, Detroit Precinct 147, will again provide a convenient voting location for Detroiters and students living on campus. Additionally, Warriors can visit the new Secretary of State’s Office, located near campus at 580 E. Warren Avenue, for election-related needs.

Wayne State students participated in the 2022 Michigan Student Voting Summit this fall to network with students across the state about mobilizing civic engagement opportunities.

Student-led initiatives like the ongoing “Warriors Vote” campaign, which is part of the national Campus Vote Project (CVP), have worked to reduce barriers to student voting, provide resources, and raise awareness of the democratic process. Wayne State was awared an MTV Early Voting is Easier Campaing Challenge grant to support student civic engagement efforts. Wayne State students have also been active with the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan's (PIRGM) Campus Action group, which aims to help mobilize campus voting efforts. 

Fatima Yahya, a political science major who serves as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences representative on Student Senate, is also one of two WSU students on the Secretary of State’s Collegiate Task Force Advisory and a Campus Voter Project fellow. Yahya encourages everyone, especially college students, to vote.

“One the biggest things youth take for granted is the ability to vote. I wish I could tell the entire world that getting a say in local, state, and national leadership and policies is a privilege,” she said. “I’ve lived in two other countries where that wasn’t the case. This amazing country lets you have a say.”

Yahya said that while it might be easy to think of yourself as one entity, voters should view themselves as part of broader change.

“You might question if a single vote matters. It absolutely does. Don’t think of yourself as one voter, think of yourself as part of a change,” she said. “The things that we’re voting for now will affect our generation and those coming after us. We’re essentially mapping out how we want our future to be.”

Voter registration events have been hosted on campus, and information about registration, sample ballots, absentee voting and more non-partisan resources are available online. DOSO, along with CVP fellows, will be in the Student Center Building weekly to share information about what’s on the ballot and how and where to vote.

“We know that the majority of WSU students are registered to vote, but it’s crucial to aid in clearing any barriers to ensure that every student who is eligible to vote actually does so,” Brandon Shamoun, assistant director of student involvement, said.

Shamoun, who also serves as the chairperson for Detroit Precinct 147, said WSU is working toward the goal of 95% voter registration and 75% voter participation rates by 2024.

Wayne State is consistently among the select group of colleges and universities across the country to be recognized as a “Voter Friendly Campus” by CVP and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Wayne State also earned the Gold Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for its participation efforts in the 2020 election.

For questions, visit michigan.gov/vote.

Find non-partisan resources and learn more about how Wayne State University is supporting civic engagement.

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