2022 Annual Report
Building momentum. Sustaining our movement.
We founded the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition in 2016 on the belief that students – and young people more broadly – were ready to transform our democracy for the better. While it didn’t begin in 2022, that transformation was more apparent than ever over the past year, and its impact is both profound and growing.
The most visible example took place at November’s midterm elections, which saw the second-highest youth voter turnout of any midterm in the last 30 years, at 27%, with Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) estimating that nearly 90% of young voters in 2022 had some college experience. Following historic turnout gains in 2018 and 2020, it appears that college students yet again were a driving force behind high election turnout that is quickly becoming the new normal. And while a growing divide between college and non-college youth voting rates is not ideal, it also indicates that colleges and universities are extremely effective at fostering democratic participation among their students – something we’ve long believed and worked to foster.
In fact, over the past year we saw several exciting new areas of progress:
More colleges and universities than ever are participating in national programs that support local campus leaders.
This fall more than 700 colleges and universities celebrated at least one of the four Civic Holidays (National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Vote Early Day, and Election Hero Day) through Campus Takeover, a nationwide program led by the SLSV Coalition and our partner, the Alliance for Youth Organizing. And throughout 2022, 317 campuses participated in the Ask Every Student (“AES”) initiative, which is the most advanced program to date for integrating voter registration into campus life.
Even more exciting are the creative ways in which campuses are taking advantage of these programs. This fall’s Campus Takeover celebrations included everything from community carnivals to “puppy to the polls” events that partnered with local animal shelters to bring a little extra cuteness to the registration and voting processes. And thanks to the AES Toolkit 2.0, participating AES campuses now have the most advanced set of codesigned resources in existence for incorporating student voter registration into classes, student orientation, online student portals, and a variety of other key touchpoints between students and their institutions of higher learning.
The US Department of Education took tangible steps to support the student vote.
After years of encouraging the Executive branch to support campuses in fulfilling their obligations under the Higher Education Act to make a good-faith effort to support voter registration, the US Department of Education came through in 2022, sending a Dear Colleague letter to every college and university in the US reminding them of their obligations under the law, and offering guidance on using federal work-study funds to support student voter registration. The letter gave real backing to staff members throughout the country seeking support for student voter engagement efforts. It was just one of several ways that ED supported our work, which also included a keynote address by US Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Nasser Paydar at our annual Post-Election Gathering, and collaboration on a forthcoming student voting toolkit to be issued by the Department of Education.
The Student Vote Research Network was launched and began an unprecedented effort to bolster rigorous academic research on student voting.
In collaboration with our partners the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, the Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project, Scholar Strategy Network, Menlo College, the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, this March we brought together scholars, students, advocacy organizations, and community practitioners to create a first-of-its kind space to co-create usable knowledge in an effort to grow college student voter engagement through research and programming. This space – the Student Vote Research Network (“SVRN”) – is bridging the gap between practitioners and scholars in order to better quantify our Coalition’s work, demonstrating its impact while challenging long-held assumptions.
The SVRN has already gained hundreds of subscribers to its substack, which features content authored by some of the leading minds in the nonpartisan student voting space, and publishes a quarterly State of the Student Vote report with the latest developments regarding the three fundamental questions SVRN seeks to address: “How do we strengthen grassroots leadership at every college and university?”, “How do we identify the most impactful tactics?” and “How does everyone else, especially local election officials, help grassroots campus leaders succeed in moving towards full participation?”
A common thread through each of these exciting developments is the strength of the Coalition working to make them happen. Everything we do as an organization, and as a movement, is bolstered by our sustained and growing Coalition of national, state, and local partners, all collaborating for common purpose.
In 2022 we saw, yet again, the enormous impact we can make together. We can’t wait to build on that in 2023.
Co-Founder and Executive Director, SLSV Coalition
Broadening our reach
This year we continued to build a stronger, more diverse Coalition.
Through intentional engagement and dynamic programming, we found ways to center students and institutions historically underrepresented in our democracy. We emphasized outreach to minority-serving institutions, historically Black colleges and universities, and community colleges, deepening our collaborations with these institutions while uplifting the work and voices of the leaders doing great work on their campuses.
25 new Coalition partners!
87 new campuses participating in the Ask Every Student initiative, including 41 minority-serving institutions and 24 community colleges.
“Coming across the SLSV Coalition has just been a gift… like a community college creates a platform for people to step up on to take their next journey in life… SLSV creates a platform for all of us nationally and locally that are working on student voter engagement to step up and work together and make that light shine brighter.”
Katie Montgomery, Cuyahoga Community College
Leading through collaboration
We found new ways to support our partners with the research, resources, and connections necessary to continue growing the #StudentVote movement.
Convening diverse partners for a common goal is at the core of what we do. In 2022, we brought Coalition partners together to achieve extraordinary things in the areas of research, student voter outreach, resource creation, and strategic planning.
Launched in April, the Student Vote Research Network provided a first-of-its-kind space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and determine the most impactful tactics for growing the student vote, how to strengthen our movement’s grassroots leadership, and how outside stakeholders can support those efforts.
The Ask Every Student Codesigner Cohort, comprised of 24 individuals representing 20 campuses with diverse contexts (including 5 MSIs and HBCUs and 5 community colleges), developed the AES Toolkit 2.0 in collaboration with the SLSV Coalition’s Resources and Campus Support Manager, the most advanced and campus-centered set of resources to date dedicated to student voter registration efforts on college campuses.
The Ask Every Student initiative saw:
87 new campuses, including 42 new MSI’s and 24 community colleges.
$273,921 in funds distributed to AES campuses.
The Resources & Support Subcommittee produced and conducted trainings on four resources that each facilitate core aspects of growing the #StudentVote.
This resource makes it easier for students to understand their state’s primary elections so they can make their voice heard.
A self-paced online course built for students who want to engage their peers in nonpartisan voter registration and civic action.
This guide helps campus leaders engage STEM students to see the connection between science and civic engagement.
Helps users strategically determine which partners to bring into their campus voting coalition and develop an outreach plan.
At the 2022 Post-Election Gathering, more than 100 Coalition partners representing dozens of organizations and college campuses came together to build critical connections in the nonpartisan student voting space, share resources and ideas, and lay out a vision for 2023.
Assistant US Secretary of Education Dr. Nasser H. Paydar and White House Senior Advisor Hannah Bristol led keynote sessions.
The 2022 SLSV Award Ceremony recognized local, state, national, and campus-level partners for excellence and innovation in growing the Student Vote.
Post-Election Gathering participants took part in an interactive goal-setting session, led by the SLSV team, to determine collective priorities for 2023.
“SLSV is really a community of support that I think is so valuable to the work that we do, I think we can often feel like we’re an island when doing this work. But what SLSV does is create a community that I can really kind of bounce ideas off of other folks, I can be inspired by the work of other members of the community, I can get resources, but more importantly, I can get ideas.”
Mike Dean, LeadMN
Celebrating the vote
713 campuses mobilized for Campus Takeover, including 203 Minority Serving Institutions and 174 community colleges.
Hundreds of college campuses and hundreds of thousands of voters celebrated our country’s democracy in pursuit of an America where everyone votes.
Together with our partners at the Alliance for Youth Organizing, the SLSV Coalition led the largest-ever Campus Takeover of the Civic Holidays. In 2022, 713 college campuses hosted celebrations, helping thousands of students and their communities get #VoteReady through celebrations of National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Vote Early Day, and Election Hero Day.
Engaged more than 34,500 voters throughout the week.
316k social media impressions on the official NVEW accounts.
In 2021, we created CivicHolidays.org in response to Coalition partners’ requests for a central hub where they could find and register for all four fall Civic Holidays. In our second year of managing the webpage and its joint sign-up form, more than 700 participants used the resource to more seamlessly celebrate multiple Civic Holidays.
“The SLSV Coalition is huge. The number of students, colleges, professors, administrators, support staff, everyone they reach is massive, they look to the SLSV Coalition as leaders in the space when it comes to student voting. And so our Campus Takeover program that helps colleges and universities run amazing events during the Civic Holidays cannot be possible without a coalition of that scope of that magnitude.”
Daniela Mrabti, Alliance for Youth Organizing
rising in stature
The SLSV Coalition and our partners continued to deepen collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Department of Education.
Following the 2021 release of an Executive Order on Voting Access, 2022 saw tangible steps taken by the federal government to fulfill its commitment to supporting student voter access.
In April, the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter – the first of its kind since 2013 – that reminded all institutions of higher learning of their obligations under the Higher Education Act to distribute voter registration materials to their students.
In October, the SLSV Coalition and the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge co-hosted a briefing that featured senior level Department of Education officials on student voting access. At the briefing, US Department of Education Undersecretary James Kvaal and US Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Nasser Paydar spoke to how students and their institutions can strengthen democracy by participating in elections and stepping up as civic leaders.
“We are so lucky as Americans that we can get to participate in this act of democracy. Voting will help today’s students shape tomorrow’s future. Let’s all work together to prioritize civic engagement and voting responsibility.”
Dr. Nasser Paydar at the SLSV Coalition and ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge’s October 18 briefing on student voting
Writing a new story
Our story of success is only just beginning!
Following two federal elections in 2018 and 2020 with historic student voter turnout, 2022 marked a chance to solidify students as a powerful voting bloc, both at the polls and in the eyes of the public. To lend context to this extraordinary growth – and celebrate the people responsible for it – we crafted the #StudentVote Story of Success, told through the words and perspectives of the people who built it.
That story continued this year as young voters made an enormous impact in the 2022 midterm elections, and prominent media outlets covered the rising tide of the student vote.
Do you want to be part of the #StudentVote movement? We’d love for you to join us!
On the horizon
In 2023, the SLSV Coalition will work to build on the #StudentVote movement’s extraordinary growth by doubling down on our greatest strength: Our partnerships.
Whether it’s deepening our existing relationships with national, state, and local organizations throughout our Coalition, or bringing new campus and nonprofit partners into our movement, we will navigate the year ahead with a philosophy grounded in trust and collaboration.
Deepening engagement to support campuses in implementing advanced nonpartisan student voter engagement strategies.
Coalitions are only as strong as the relationships that form them. Throughout 2023 we will seek out – and create – opportunities to deepen our collaboration with both new and existing campus and nonprofit partners by helping them apply nuanced and innovative nonpartisan approaches to civic engagement and the #StudentVote.
Continuing to support campuses as they complete the SLSV Checklist – including and especially during non-federal-election years, personnel transitions, and assessments via the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).
Every phase of the election cycle carries different objectives and challenges for student voting coalitions, especially given the high turnover of the higher education space. In the coming year we will focus on helping campuses institutionalize nonpartisan student voter engagement efforts, beginning with reauthorizing NSLVE, so that future leaders can retain and build on our movement’s amazing progress to date.
Working with local, state, and national nonprofit partners to coordinate support for campuses to meet their needs without overwhelming them.
The volume of resources and information sent to campus partners – especially in the run-up to a federal election – can feel overwhelming for a team with limited capacity. In 2023, we will prioritize streamlining and simplification as we collaborate with our nonprofit partners to find the best balance between our campus partners’ needs for resources and support, and their finite time and energy.
Grants, Donations, & Carryover Funding
Salary, Benefits, Digital Subscriptions, Supplies, Indirect Costs, & Fiscal Sponsor Administrative Fee
Ask Every Student Implementation Grants, Research Grants, & Other Grants
2022 Advisory Board
- Ana Guevara, Florida Student Power Network
- Franecia Moore, Common Cause
- Britah Odondi, Scholars Strategy Network
- Alicia Vallette, Community College of Rhode Island; Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
- Allie Cashel, Democracy Works
- Raymond Partolan, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)
- Erich Heppner, Central Lakes College
- Monica Clarke, Alabama A&M University
- Samantha Giffen, Berry Institute of Politics, Salem State University
- Angeline Vuong, University of San Francisco
- Izzy Milch, Forward Montana Foundation
- Jeannette Senecal, League of Women Voters US
- Maggie Bush, League of Women Voters US
Chair: Tamer Mokhtar, All Americans Vote
Secretary: Dr. Teri Platt, Clark Atlanta University
- Mike Burns, Campus Vote Project
- Mike Dean, LeadMN
- Joy Fulkerson, East Tennessee State University
A special thanks to…
- The SLSV Team
- Our Coalition partners
- SLSV Co-Founder Sam Novey
- NEO Philanthropy
- The Student Vote Research Network
- Ask Every Student Steering Committee members, campuses, and nonprofit partners
- Alliance for Youth Organizing and all Campus Takeover partner organizations and participants
- National Voter Education Week Steering Committee members and partners
- The Civic Holidays Joint Collaboration Committee members
- Subcommittee, Working Group, and Affinity Group members and chairs
- Every Statewide Student Democracy Summit committee
- Every philanthropic partner who believes in our work