Every two years, Chapman University students gather at the poll booths and let their voices be heard. So much so that once again, Chapman has been named a “Voter-Friendly Campus” by Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
What is the VFC Initiative?
The Voter Friendly Campus Initiative is coordinated by CVP and NASPA, which are nonpartisan groups. Their goal is to support higher education institutions develop action plans to encourage administrators, faculty and students in civic and electoral engagement.
This program helps create structure for students as they explore their political beliefs and learn how to engage in the democratic process – something that is especially essential for first-year students who are first-time voters.
What does “Voter-Friendly” mean for Chapman?
Chapman’s voting rates increased by over 30% from 2014 to 2018, and again in 2020. With resources provided by the Student Union (listed below), 90% of Chapman students registered to vote in 2020, and of those eligible students, 79.5% voted on election day.
How did voting become such an ingrained element of our campus culture?
According to Director of Student Engagement Justin Koppelman, PhD., “I think voter registration and turnout is successful at Chapman in part because of the resources Chapman provides to make those actions as easy as possible and because it’s one of the things that students, staff and faculty all contribute to in one way or another.”
These resources include virtual tools, on-campus resources and classroom activities designed to help students figure out where they stand on worldly issues to make informed decisions. These efforts are often coordinated and sponsored by the Argyros Forum Student Union.
“While there will always be room to invest more in this sort of work, it’s not at all surprising to see a variety of tangible examples of students, staff and faculty all contributing in one way or another to facilitating students’ participation in elections,” adds Koppelman.
Resources for Student Voters
Whether you’re a first-time voter, or you just want to feel more informed, the following resources are available to Chapman students:
- Panel discussions
- Debate and Election Day watch parties on campus
- Virtual voting tools
- On-campus Vote Center
- Peer-to-peer encouragement in student organizations
- Co-curricular programming (in-class discussions and assignments)