As the voter registration deadline approaches, The Office of Student Development (OSD) has launched a campus organization, the Civic Engagement Coalition, with the goal to increase civic engagement at N.C. A&T.
Through the Civic Engagement Coalition’s Civic Champion Program, students are able to assist students with voter registration via Zoom meetings. The program has Civic Champions, who are required to host programs to register and inform students about this year’s election. The organization’s goal is to have 100% registration for the student population.
The organization provides multiple Zoom links that are attached to QR codes, each session is about 30 minutes. During the meetings students are able to learn where they can vote, the format of the ballot and requirements needed for Election Day. Champions are provided with a virtual toolkit to host their own sessions. The toolkit includes training materials, informational videos, and powerpoints to show attendees.
The Civic Engagement Coalition was initiated by Tiffany Seawright, director of Leadership and Engagement at the Office of Student Development. The coalition is sponsored by The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Election Engagement Project, Campus Vote Project, North Carolina Black Alliance and Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.
Aigné Taylor, SGA Junior Class President, is spearheading voter registration and champion training. Taylor is responsible for organizing voter registration sessions, training individuals to register students, and communicate with her group on further events that pertain to election day.
The coalition uses Vote411.org/ballot as a reference for voters to use. This site creates a personalized ballot based on your location. Voters are required to insert their address to form their own voter guide. The ballot includes the positions candidates are running for, the available polling locations, and more information that is specific to your location. Taylor advises people to vote early so if any complications arise, it can be solved immediately.
“I’m really encouraging people to vote early because you can register or update your registration at early voting,” said Taylor. “Compared to going on election day, I would hate for somebody to go on election day and not be able to vote because of a minor issue that could have been prevented.”
The coalition plans to tackle civic engagement at N.C. A&T in five phases:
Phase One: Voter Registration (registering students to vote across campus)
Phase Two: Voter Education (informing students about the ballot and information needed for the polls)
Phase Three: “Get out the Vote” (empowering people to go to the polls, activist events)
Phase Four: Civic and Service Learning (partnering with different organizations within the community)
Phase Five: Cultural Change institutionalization (shifting the culture of N.C. A&T to be more civically involved)
The last open voter registration session is on Oct. 7, 5-7 p.m. However, OSD will host special population voting sessions for Aggies Villages and the Colleges of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science (CAHSS). Aggies Village will have their session at 6 p.m. and CAHSS will have their session at 6:30 p.m.
The last day for voter registration in North Carolina will be Oct. 9. As for the Civic Engagement Coalition, their Civic Champion program will be complete after the voter registration deadline. Taylor expressed that the coalition will continue to be active after the election.
“I want to continue this program beyond the election year. Our focus will shift to community learning and the long-term goals of cultural change,” said Taylor. “This will be Phase Four and Phase Five, not just pushing information about the election but providing information from a civic perspective year-round.”
Early voting is from Oct.15 to Oct. 31. The Dudley Building, 202 University Circle, will be used as a poll location for students, faculty and community members.
For more information about the coalition and civic engagement, contact Tiffany Seawright via email at [email protected].