Winthrop University: Winthrop Emphasizes Importance of Voting Through Educational Initiatives
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Winthrop Emphasizes Importance of Voting Through Educational Initiatives

October 27, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Across the campus, Interim President George Hynd, faculty members, student voting ambassadors and the athletics department have urged students to make their voices heard.
  • Winthrop students already rank among the top schools in the country in voting, according to Washington Monthly. This year, the push was even greater.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Many Winthrop University students will be among millions of voters casting ballots for the 2020 presidential election. 

Across the campus, Interim President George Hynd, faculty members, student voting ambassadors and the athletics department have urged students to make their voices heard.

Winthrop students already rank among the top schools in the country in voting, according to Washington Monthly. This year, the push was even greater. 

Voting ambassadors made social media pushes on Facebook and Instagram to remind students to register to vote by Oct. 2 and to either vote early by absentee ballots or to vote in person on the Nov. 3 Election Day

“We also have worked with faculty, administrators and students across campus to create short videos they post on their own social media to urge their audience to register and vote,” said Katarina Moyon, director of the John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy

Other efforts have included:

·       Regular emails explained all aspects of voting and deadlines to students, faculty and staff;

·       Posters displayed around campus explained how students could file for an absentee ballot;

·       A partnership with the art program reached students through print art and a voting mural in the breezeway between McLaurin Hall and Rutledge Building;

·       Sponsorship of programs presented in the residence halls related to voting and absentee ballots;

·       Information made available on the West Forum website about voting atwww.winthrop.edu/westforum and on the voting FAQ page;

·       ACAD classes for new students incorporated materials on how to register to vote and how to vote for all freshman ACAD students; and

·       The M.S.W. Student Association joined the West Forum in a social media campaign. All social work students were asked to post a photo of them with their voting sticker and to respond to the prompt, “voting is social work because ________.”

The Winthrop Athletics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee spearheaded voter registration, education and action efforts for the athletics teams. This included holding a non-partisan virtual workshop entitled “Rock the Hill! Rock the Vote!” in September with John Holder of the Department of Political Science, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Semeka Randall Lay and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Justin Gray

Last month, the athletics department held an in-person, team-by-team voter registration and ballot request drive with all 16 of the university’s NCAA teams and Esports, according to Kelley Kish, senior associate athletics director. At the drives, the department achieved 100 percent voter registration and assisted student-athletes in making their plan to vote – in person or by mail/absentee. 

“Winthrop Athletics is excited to provide the education, information and action steps needed for our student-athletes and staff to be engaged voters in all elections,” Kish said. “This is truly our department and campus values in motion with leadership and civic engagement at the forefront.” 

Meanwhile in social work, a graduate class developed and executed a voter education/engagement event in conjunction with their field placements, said Instructor ZaDonna Slay. Students formed small groups, a South Carolina team and a North Carolina team, to develop a plan to integrate voter registration, education and outreach into their field agencies' service delivery/culture during Early Vote Week of Action, held Oct. 18-25. 

She said teams worked with Charlotte agencies or partnered with When We All Vote and York County Board of Elections for resources, strategies and best-practices to support their events. Their efforts will be presented at the semester's end, Slay said.

At Winthrop there will be no classes or sports events or practices on Nov. 3 in order to encourage voting.

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

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Last Updated: 10/4/21