NEWS

National Voting Coalition Announces New National Campaign To Close The Community College Student Voting Gap

PRESS RELEASE: Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
CONTACT: Danny Fersh, danny@slsvcoalition.org

Despite recent gains, community college student voting rates are nearly 10 percentage points lower than four-year universities. Founding companies are kicking off their work with a variety of initiatives, including on-campus activations and a concert competition

Levi Strauss & Co.(LS&Co.), Lyft, and SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios (MTVE) announced today the launch of the Community College Commitment – a new nonpartisan initiative aimed at closing the voting gap between community college students and those at four-year universities. 

Community colleges – whose students accounted for roughly one-third of U.S. postsecondary students in 2020 – saw a national voting rate nearly 10 percentage points lower than four-year universities in the last presidential election. The participating companies aim to close this gap by turning out 500,000 new community college voters by 2028.

Community colleges represent more than 10 million students and are traditionally more diverse than four-year colleges and universities. Among the undergraduate student population, community colleges account for 39% of all Black students, 48% of all Hispanic students, 34% of all AAPI students, and 52% of all Native American students. 

In collaboration with nonpartisan nonprofit partner organizations such as the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition and the American Association of Community Colleges, the founding companies will center their efforts on educating and motivating community college students to vote by focusing on increasing voter registration and turnout. The Community College Commitment includes initial activations of the founding companies such as:

 

  • On-Campus Activation Series: LS&Co., Lyft, and MTVE will host exciting activations timed to National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week and Vote Early Day on community college campuses across the country. Campuses will be announced at a later date – activations could include direct grantmaking, in-kind donations, voter engagement events, giveaways and more.
  • Community College Concert Competition: A new nonpartisan voter registration and GOTV competition will be launched on community college campuses across the United States. Participating community colleges that host qualified registration drives or voter education events will be entered to win a live, on-campus concert on Vote Early Day (October 29, 2024) featuring a well-known, surprise music artist, whose name will be announced in the coming months. The competition and concert is a collaboration with Levi’s®, MTVE, Good Trouble Collaborative, the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, and Amplifier. Learn more about the Community College Concert Competition here.

“At Levi Strauss & Co., we’re committed to driving a culture of civic engagement among our employees, our consumers, and in our communities, because democracy works best when every American has the opportunity to make their voice heard through their vote,” said Michelle Gass, CEO and President of Levi Strauss & Co. “With the launch of the Community College Commitment, we’re proud to lead the business community’s effort to close the community college voting gap and make it easier for young voters to participate in every election.” 

“As a pioneer in youth voter engagement, MTV has spent decades working alongside our partners to get young people to the polls, having contributed to record-breaking youth turnout in recent elections,” said Chris McCarthy, President and CEO, SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios and Office of the CEO, Paramount Global. “We spearheaded Vote Early Day and now we’re opening the next frontier in civic engagement by investing in community colleges to close the voting gap between students at four-year and two-year schools – because where one goes to school shouldn’t determine whether their voice is heard.”

“At Lyft we believe that everyone’s voice – and vote – deserves to be heard, and transportation should never be a barrier to access the polls,” said Kristin Sverchek, President, Lyft. “We are proud to support efforts to close the voting gap for community college students and look forward to ensuring that voters nationwide can access the polls this year.”

“Community colleges are a vital onramp for millions of Americans into career opportunities and a brighter future,” said SLSV Coalition Co-Founder and Executive Director Clarissa Unger. “By addressing barriers and supporting nonpartisan student voter engagement, we can ensure community colleges are onramps into our democracy as well, helping millions of traditionally underrepresented citizens make their voices heard in our elections.”

“As uniquely American institutions serving more than 10 million students annually, the nation’s community colleges provide an amazing opportunity to advance civic engagement and promote the importance of exercising our privilege to vote,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. “We are proud to provide resources to colleges to encourage active participation in get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts but know that community colleges can benefit from targeted programs aimed at increasing voter registration and participation. We are happy to work with Levi Strauss & Company to bring together quintessential American brands to specifically focus efforts on raising the awareness of and participation in the democratic process of voting.” 

“ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is proud to partner with more than 250 community colleges around the country and we are excited to amplify and support the essential work of community colleges dedicated to registering and turning out voters with the power of healthy competition and music,” said Jen Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. 

“The 2024 election will determine the direction of our nation for generations to come. Including a larger percentage of young and diverse voices in our democracy is critical in order to support equal and just outcomes for everyone, and to ensure opportunities for students to use their voices to shape their future,” added Laurie Spivak, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Good Trouble Collaborative.

The Community College Commitment is rallying the business community to join in this effort to close the community college voting gap by directing a portion of their respective organizations’ 2024 voting efforts toward community colleges. To learn more about the initiative and to take part, visit communitycollegecommitment.com.

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About Levi Strauss & Co. 

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women, and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, Denizen® and Beyond Yoga® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 3,200 brand-dedicated stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.’s reported 2023 net revenues were $6.2 billion. For more information, go to http://levistrauss.com.

About Lyft

Lyft is one of the largest transportation networks in North America, bringing together rideshare, bikes, and scooters all in one app. We are customer-obsessed and driven by our purpose: getting riders out into the world so they can live their lives together, and providing drivers a way to work that gives them control over their time and money.

About SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios & Paramount Media Networks

SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios & Paramount Media Networks is a global network of media assets that reaches over one billion people in more than 180 countries featuring some of the most iconic brands in entertainment including SHOWTIME, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Network among others – and, its Studios arm which produces 120+ series annually, including some of today’s biggest hits such as Yellowstone, Yellowjackets, Emily in Paris, 1883, 1923, George & Tammy, South Park, Tulsa King, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Challenge and Jersey Shore, to name a few. MTVE uses its reach for social impact, spearheading broad change-driven coalitions through its Mental Health is Health and youth voter access initiatives.

About American Association of Community Colleges

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) delivers educational and economic opportunities for the more than 10 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all. 

About the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition

Comprised of a diverse group of more than 300 local, state, national, and student nonpartisan organizations, 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 and democratic engagement. We believe every college student deserves easy and equal access to participate in every election, facilitated and encouraged by their institutions of higher education. Through the Campus Takeover program, the SLSV Coalition has facilitated annual nonpartisan voting-focused celebrations on National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, and Vote Early Day on more than 850 college campuses nationwide.

About Good Trouble Collaborative

Good Trouble Collaborative’s (GTC) mission is to inspire and drive unprecedented youth civic engagement and voter turnout to ensure diverse voices from the next generation have a seat at the table in shaping an equitable future for ALL Americans – no matter race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or ability. GTC believes in the power of bridging creativity and action to deliver real world impact. Good Trouble is a sponsored program of the Social Impact Fund, 501(c)3.

About ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement. Through an intentionally-designed program that provides structure, support, and recognition, ALL IN works to improve civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation on more than 1,000 campuses nationwide. ALL IN believes higher education should play a role in developing an active and informed citizenry by educating students, motivating them to engage in American democracy, and instilling the value of lifelong participation. ALL IN is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Learn more here.

 

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