UHCL recognized by ALL IN as 'Most Engaged Campus for Student Voting'
By Cynthia Anaya
Last month, University of Houston-Clear Lake earned recognition as a “Most Engaged Campus for Student Voting” for 2022 after accepting Civic Nation’s ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.
A college or university is so recognized if they make measurable efforts to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and college student voting, and meet a list of four core requirements, as the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge website explains.
UH-Clear Lake’s efforts included offering student services and educational programming designed to emphasize the importance of voting.
“Through the summer’s Civic Leadership Series, students were exposed to current civic issues in the United States,” said Assistant Director Dillon Nash in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.
In addition, students had the opportunity to register to vote right on campus with the assistance of voter registrars, thanks to the university’s relationship with Harris County. UHCL’s partnership with MTV also played a role in the overall mission to increase student voting. This partnership allowed the university to host a Vote Early Day Celebration that featured games, inflatables, music, food, and free T-shirts.
UHCL had a polling location on campus, which allowed students the convenience of casting their vote early or on voting day in the same place they take classes.
“I believe it's important for UHCL to be viewed as a campus for voting because we are a growing and very diverse campus,” said Alexis De La Garza, who plans to graduate in fall of 2023. “People from all kinds of backgrounds attend our campus; being recognized as such allows us to reach more participants when it comes to civic engagement, not just voting.”
Nash hopes the university’s efforts will help clear up misapprehensions about voting. He feels the biggest misconception students have about voting is that their vote won’t make a difference.
“There are so many examples across history that show this to be simply not true,” Nash said. “Younger voters have to have their voices heard in order to impact society, but if you are not voting, there is no way that things can change.”
De La Garza agreed. “You may be only one person, but getting out there and making your voice heard is the first step,” she said.
Nash added that the designation as a “Most Engaged Campus for Student Voting” was important for the university because it showed that UHCL students care about the future of our country, city, state, etc. and are actively engaged in their community, ultimately engaging as global citizens. “Our students are making a difference,” he said.
UHCL was one of 394 colleges and universities recognized for increasing student voter registration, education, and turnout during the 2022 midterm elections. This year was the second-highest youth turnout rate for a midterm election in 30 years, according to an ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge press release.
To learn more about UHCL’s civic engagement initiatives, go online.