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03/24/2017

Winthrop Earns Voter-Friendly Campus Designation

Quick Facts

 The mission of the Voter-Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process.
 Winthrop was evaluated based on a campus plan about how the university would engage student voters in the fall of 2016, how it facilitated voter engagement efforts on the campus and a final analysis of the institution’s efforts.

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University this week earned the designation “Voter-Friendly Campus” from the national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, which hold participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in the 2016 general election and in the coming years.

The mission of the Voter-Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Winthrop was evaluated based on a campus plan about how the university would engage student voters in the fall of 2016, how it facilitated voter engagement efforts on the campus and a final analysis of the institution’s efforts.

Winthrop President Dan Mahony said that promoting engaged and informed citizenship is a core value of the university. “I am proud of the faculty, staff, students and community partners who encouraged voting, discussed current issues of the day, brought candidates to campus to meet with students, and inspired our students’ expressions of free speech,” he said. “This made the 2016 election season especially noteworthy, and our campus is honored to be recognized for its efforts.”

At Winthrop, a coalition of students, staff and faculty worked to register students, educate them about the election and encourage voter turnout. The effort was led by Frank Ardaiolo, vice president for student life, and Karen Kedrowski, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Student Voting Ambassadors registered more than 300 students and handed out nearly 500 “check your voter registration” cards and 250 flyers describing absentee voting. Campus clubs, organizations and academic departments held more than 30 election-related events with a total attendance of more than 2,000 students.

The designation is valid through December 2018.

The 83 institutions designated Voter-Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses, with a total enrollment of nearly 1.4 million students. Winthrop is one of only two in South Carolina. 

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries and 8 U.S. territories.

The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) is a national, nonpartisan election reform organization working to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve election administration. FELN’s Campus Vote Project (CVP) works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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