November 22, 2021
Every year, the Washington Monthly magazine recognizes colleges that go above and beyond to encourage civic engagement among students. This year, thanks to help from ASU’s Civic Engagement Coalition, ASU was included on that list: the 2021 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll.
Although ASU students have worked hard to promote civic engagement for years, increasing the rates of students registering and voting doesn’t happen overnight.
ASU’s Civic Engagement Coalition has helped ASU make strides. The Civic Engagement Coalition is a student-led organization that works to educate and provide resources to encourage Sun Devils to participate in civic engagement.
Anusha Natarajan, a junior studying sociology and history and co-chair of the Civic Engagement Coalition said voter outreach efforts are making a difference at ASU. She said the number of ASU students who voted increased by 20 percent between 2014 and 2018.
The coalition has stepped up to ensure that ASU increases civic engagement among students, especially in relation to voter registration and participation in general and midterm elections.
“Our goal is to inform students and educate students in a nonpartisan way about the changes that have been made in terms of voting, especially with the PEVL, which is the permanent early voter list,” Natarajan said.
According to data collected in 2018, in total around 40% of the ASU student body votes, says Natarajan. This is a 20% increase from 2014, when only 20% of the student body voted.
It’s important for students to get involved in civic engagement for many reasons, said Aidan Sigmund, a senior studying economics and politics and co-chair of the Civic Engagement Coalition.
In fact, youth voter turnout is increasing throughout all of Arizona, especially in people 18-29.
In 2020 alone, 51 percent of Arizona citizens ages 18-29 who were registered to vote voted. This is an 18% increase since 2016, according to the State-by-State Youth Voter Turnout report.
“Civic engagement puts you out of your little bubble and kind of exposes you to what's going on within the collegiate community,” Sigmund said.
“It helps you understand and learn and further motivate other students about the importance of policies, elected officials and understanding what is going on both within your local, federal and global community,” Sigmund said.
This year the Civic Engagement Coalition will increase voting among students by encouraging more students to register to vote, spreading the word about civic engagement opportunities on campus through social media and by offering resources in various languages, said Natarajan.
Resources available to Sun Devils include access to voting FAQs, including information on how to request mail-in ballots, find polling locations, learn about current state legislators and active bills, how to contact federal representatives, learn what’s on your ballot and more.
Data collected to determine the rankings came from voting statistics that were recorded among students in the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election.
To be recognized on the Washington Monthly Honor Roll, ,schools must meet required criteria and demonstrate civic engagement among students. The criteria include the following:
Submitting action plans to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for 2018 and 2020.
Signing up to receive data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
Making the school’s 2016 and 2018 NSLVE data available to the public.
Find out how to get involved with civic engagement at ASU.