September 30, 2020

Susquehanna University is taking steps to increase the numbers of SU students who are registered to vote and who show up to the polls every election.

Achieve. Lead. Vote! is a nonpartisan initiative that expands upon the university’s mission and values of the university’s motto, which is “Achieve. Lead. Serve.” Susquehanna seeks to streamline, demystify and educate students on ballot issues, and election and voting processes at all levels.

“One step toward civic participation and being engaged within your community is by casting your vote,” said Miranda Carrasquillo, coordinator of the David ’69 and Sharon Johnson Center for Civic Engagement. “SU is making pointed efforts to educate students on the democratic process and to encourage them to become a part of it, not just during a presidential election, but every election.”

Since its inception, Achieve. Lead. Vote! efforts include:

  • Student Voices meetings where students claim ownership, agency and initiative in educating and encouraging their peers to register to vote.
  • A Blackboard course that, once launched, will be available to all SU students.

To bolster its efforts, Susquehanna is a member of the Pennsylvania Student Voting Coalition, a newly formed, nonpartisan, student and professional network representing various institutions of higher education across the state. PASVC members are focused on driving student voter education, registration and turnout rates at their respective institutions.

“We discuss possible solutions to eliminate voting barriers on individual campuses, locally and state-wide, as well as share resources to develop creative and sustainable ways to institutionalize voting on our campuses,” Carrasquillo said.

Susquehanna was awarded a $1,300 grant from the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition to fund a student fellowship position to boost engagement on campus in time for the general election on Nov. 3. Student fellows leverage peer-to-peer outreach and have regular Zoom meetings with their supervisor as well as their counterparts at the participating institutions.

Additionally, Susquehanna is a part of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a friendly competition among participating campuses that incentivizes institutions of higher education to increase campus voter registration and turnout rates.