Alfred University named ‘Voter Friendly Campus’
Alfred University is among a group of just 231 campuses in 39 states designated as a 2021-22 “Voter Friendly Campus.” It marks the third straight time the program—which is jointly sponsored by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and the Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project—has cited Alfred University.
ALFRED, NY – Alfred University is among a group of just 231 campuses in 39 states designated as a 2021-22 “Voter Friendly Campus.” It marks the third straight time the program—which is jointly sponsored by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and the Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project—has cited Alfred University.
The Voter Friendly Campus program recognizes university and college campuses for engaging their student body and promoting voter registration and voting as part of their institutional mission. The goal of the program is to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process and develop a culture of democratic engagement on campus.
“We’ve incorporated civic engagement into campus life here at Alfred University, and it’s wonderful to see our students value civic responsibility and actively engage in the democratic process,” commented Kimberly Guyer, vice president for Student Affairs. “I’m proud to see our students taking part and the recognition that our university has received.”
“Our committee was so excited to receive this distinction this year,” added Tricia Debertolis, associate dean of students at Alfred University. “We appreciated the support from (Alfred University President) Mark Zupan and multiple faculty and staff who helped us receive this recognition.”
Throughout 2020, campus representatives developed, implemented and reported results for engagement programs that encouraged students to register and vote. Campuses were evaluated on their ability to complete a three-step process, which included writing a campus plan about how they would engage student voters in the fall of 2020, facilitating voter engagement efforts on their campus, and writing a final analysis on their efforts.
Among Alfred University’s voter friendly initiatives undertaken in 2020: launching several successful new programs and outreach programs, including a significant information and awareness campaign via social media; and implementing a Civic Engagement and Voting module for courses in Psychology, Women and Gender Studies, and Social Justice Studies. The Alfred University Conduct Board also utilized this module: students sanctioned to complete community service projects instead read the module and completed a reflective essay on their experiences with voting and civic engagement.
Students registered to vote primarily online. The University sent emails, created social media posts, and used digital tools almost entirely for its registration efforts. The Fiat Lux, Alfred University’s student newspaper, ran articles about voter registration in its online editions. Students also operated voter registration tables at several events in the area, such as the Alfred Farmer’s Market and at weekly Black Lives Matter rallies held in the Alfred community.
The University researched and disseminated voter registration and civic engagement resources; developed relationships with outside stakeholders, including the League of Women Voting and Allegany County Board of Elections; participated in and moderated election-related panel discussions; advised campus groups, faculty, and staff on voter registration and engagement; created promotional emails highlighting the importance of voting and civic engagement; and encouraged students to host virtual debate watch parties and attend a postelection panel event—“Election 2020: The Days After”— which educated participants on the Electoral College and how to interpret polls, news, and election results.
Corey Fecteau, Art Career Advisor and Service Learning Coordinator in Alfred University's Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center, credited graduate assistants in the Division of Student Affairs for the role they played in helping the University achieve the Voter Friendly Campus citation.
“Social media posts created by graduate assistants Ashley Gomez and Shannon Marlatt were key components of Alfred University’s voter registration campaign, which was conducted primarily online this year,” Fecteau commented. “Gomez and Marlatt effectively used digital tools and an online outreach strategy to keep our campus informed.”
The Voter Friendly Campus designation program was initiated in 2016 through the partnership of Campus Vote Project and NASPA. The goal of the program is to help institutions develop plans to coordinate administrators, faculty, and student organizations in civic and electoral engagement.