The Students Learn Students Vote (“SLSV”) Coalition, in collaboration with the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (“ALL IN”), Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project (“CVP”), and Student PIRGs, released today the third edition of Strengthening American Democracy, an interactive and research-backed guide for developing a nonpartisan action plan to increase nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation among college students.
The Strengthening American Democracy guide’s (“SADG”) release comes at the same time as Democracy Works, SLSV, and Maine Student Votes release the newest edition of Votes & Ballots, a suite of digital and in-person activities that supports campuses, nonprofit partners, and student leaders in facilitating a fun and collaborative nonpartisan action planning process based on SADG principles and best practices.
Released in 2017, SADG’s first edition and its subsequent update in 2019 have been instrumental to the proliferation of nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts on college campuses and their surrounding communities throughout the country. Using SADG as a foundational document, students, faculty, student affair practitioners, and nonprofit partners have created and executed comprehensive action plans to help millions of young people register, vote, and become more active and informed participants in American democracy.
“We are extremely proud of the impact that SADG has had on the nonpartisan civic engagement space and student voter participation as a whole,” said SLSV Coalition Director Clarissa Unger. “This newest edition builds on the amazing work of the last four years while accounting for how our space has transformed since we started, as well as the seismic global changes of the past two years.”
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, much of the work and activism based on SADG guidance moved to virtual settings, forcing organizers to adapt and upgrade their digital capabilities in order to reach their intended levels of impact. Following the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, renewed and strengthened calls to address systemic racial injustice also brought about more prominent and ambitious efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and injustice within the nonpartisan democratic engagement space.
“If anything, the four years since the first SADG release have shown us just how vital it is for campus voting coalitions to take ownership of efforts to institutionalize nonpartisan civic learning and democratic engagement at their respective institutions,” said ALL IN Executive Director Jennifer Domagal-Goldman. “It’s thrilling to see what’s already come from campuses’ extraordinary efforts, and this update aims to help campuses strive for even more going forward.”
“The growth in civic engagement and voter turnout among our youngest voters in recent years has been undeniable,” said the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project National Director Mike Burns. “SADG’s third edition will help ensure these gains are sustainable over the long term, helping prepare both new and future voters for a lifetime of participation in our democracy.”
“Our goal was never to impact just one election cycle,” said Student PIRGs Political Director Dan Xie. “SADG’s evolution from its first edition to now is a reflection of the incredible work young activists have done already to increase civic engagement, but more importantly, this guide is a living demonstration of constant work required to sustain a vibrant democracy over the long term.”
About the SLSV Coalition
The Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition is the national hub and largest nonpartisan network in the United States dedicated to increasing college student voter participation. The Coalition convenes and connects partners, campuses, and students with each other and with resources and programming towards achieving a vision of ensuring that every student has easy and equal access to participate in every election. They use data, relationships, celebration, and easy-to-follow planning structures, to help campus and local leaders register and turnout more student voters every year. The SLSV Coalition is a project of the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. NCoC is strictly nonpartisan, and does not support or oppose any candidate or party.
About the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 2016 that supports and recognizes colleges and universities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia working to improve civic learning, political engagement, and student voter participation. ALL IN recruits and encourages higher education institutions to help students form habits of active and informed democratic participation as well as to institutionalize democratic engagement activities and programs—making them a defining feature of campus life. ALL IN especially strives to close existing gaps in voting based on age and race as college students are generally younger and more racially diverse than the broader electorate. For more information, visit allinchallenge.org and follow ALL IN on Facebook (Facebook.com/allintovote), Twitter and Instagram (@allintovote).
About the Campus Vote Project
Campus Vote Project (CVP) was launched in 2012 by Fair Elections Center (FEC) to focus and expand FEC’s work around student voting issues. Since then, CVP has been working to normalize and institutionalize student voting by working directly with colleges and universities across the country. This includes the creation of the state student voter guides, and providing guidance on the specific and unique circumstances under which many college students vote.
About Student PIRGs|
Student PIRGs work with professional staff at colleges and universities to make sure their peers have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all of us. Student PIRGs chapters and clubs on nearly 100 campuses in 25 states provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For nearly 50 years Student PIRGs has helped students to get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change.
About Democracy Works
Democracy Works, Inc. (“Democracy Works”) is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to help Americans vote, no matter what. We do this by building technology that increases accessibility at every stage of the voting process for all 50 states and D.C., thereby empowering voters to confidently participate in every election, from national to local. Its tool TurboVote helps voters register and request absentee ballots,and stay engaged via election reminders. Democracy Works also helps millions of Americans find election information through the Voting Information Project, helps track millions of ballots via Ballot Scout, adding confidence and transparency to the vote-by-mail process, and empowers voters to determine when and where they’ll vote through its tool How to Vote. Through partnerships with corporations, colleges, and nonprofits, Democracy Works expands the reach of their technology, and makes it easier for voters to get to the polls, and participate in our democracy.