Our Work

our theory of change

Students vote at lower rates due to systemic barriers. Being a first time voter on a college campus brings unique challenges: where do you register to vote, how do you get to your polling place without a car, what if you have classes all day on election day?

Local leaders at the college and university level provide creative and effective answers to all of these questions and many more. That’s why the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition has chosen to invest in local leaders and make sure they’re supported in this work. As a national hub for student voting, we’re providing infrastructure and institutionalization at the campus level to address the most pressing voting issues faced by students.

how do we do this?

We provide funding

Every year we raise and distribute funding to Coalition partners and directly to campuses to support their incredible work.

We provide resources

We help design and coordinate programs and tools for campuses so they can scale, apply, and implement voter engagement strategies on their campuses.

We provide connections

We host monthly Coalition calls and annual convenings that create community and collaboration across the student voting space. 

We provide STRATEGIC DIRECTION

Our Executive Committee and Advisory Board include representatives from national and local nonprofits, students, faculty and staff from campuses, and election administrators who help set Coalition goals. 

Simply: We bring together campus, nonprofit, community, student, and philanthropic leaders with the goal of increasing student voter participation.

  • programs
  • MOBILIZATIONS
  • SUBCOMMITTEES
  • SUMMITS & NETWORKS

ASK EVERY STUDENT

Ask Every Student is a high engagement opportunity for institutions that want to set the standard for student voting accessibility and institutionalization. Campuses collaborate with a dedicated team of designers who will work to integrate voter registration asks into existing processes and points of contact that touch every student on campus.

The SLSV Coalition provides design specialist functions for campuses and manages the Ask Every Student Steering Committee which includes the SLSV Coalition, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project, and NASPA.

+1 THE POLLS

Young people voted at a record rate in 2018, but of those who didn’t turnout in the last election, nearly half cited access as a reason for not voting. We believe that on-campus polling locations is one of the easiest ways to increase student access to voting.

To ensure that campuses can continue to act as safe and accessible voting locations in 2020, MTV, the Alliance for Youth Organizing, Campus Vote Project, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, launched +1 the Polls, the first-ever national effort to protect and place campus polling places through a student grant program.

This year, the Poll Defender cohort is made up of 43 college student leaders throughout the country that are working to place and/or protect voting sites on college, university, and community college campuses. This cohort gets access to important resources and tools, one-on-one support, and funding to help them in their efforts.

CAMPUS TAKEOVER ON NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY

Every year, millions of Americans are unable to vote because of a missed registration deadline or other problems with their registration. Recognizing this, National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) was created in 2012 as a single day of coordinated events to help voters get registered, or update their registration, ahead of state deadlines.

As co-managers of the NVRD “Campus Takeover” program, the SLSV Coalition provides training, resources, and funding to host awesome NVRD events for college students.

 

NATIONAL VOTER EDUCATION WEEK

With many events focused on voter registration and turnout, this new initiative focuses on voter education - an essential step in ensuring that those who are registered actually cast a ballot. Following NVRD, partners will host a digital campaign the week of October 5th to equip voters with the tools, information, and confidence they need to cast their ballots.

Participating in a national nonpartisan voter education campaign provides another touchpoint to further create a strong culture of voting and civic participation.

 

VOTE EARLY DAY

Did you know most voters can cast their ballot prior to Election Day? Voting early is a great option to avoid lines or other complications on election day. Vote early rules (both in-person and by mail) vary widely all over the country, so we are proud to be a part of the launch of Vote Early Day to make all voters aware of their options to vote early and provide them resources to do just that. Vote Early Day is a brand new collaboration of organizations and individuals working to ensure all Americans know their options to vote early.

Similar to NVRD, Vote Early Day is a collaborative holiday that anyone can engage with. The SLSV Coalition will be here to support and organize efforts to celebrate this holiday and help college students vote before Election Day.

The Coalition has different subcommittees that help implement our collective model of institutionalized democratic engagement on college campuses. To participate in the SLSV Coalition’s Subcommittees, you must be a Coalition Partner. Click here to join the Coalition.

RESOURCES AND SUPPORT WORKING GROUP
The Resources & Support (R&S) Working Group is a space where Coalition partners ideate on ways to advance the SLSV Checklist on all campuses; support existing SLSV Coalition partners in any outreach efforts that align with the SLSV Coalition mission and goals; and share best practices, projects, and resources across the Coalition.

SPEAKERS BUREAU
The Speakers Bureau is a space where partners coordinate all interested members and their base to submit high quality, collaborative proposals around civic learning and voter engagement, support state and regional democracy summit organizing, and connect convening organizers who need speakers or facilitators for their programming.

YOUTH VOTING RIGHTS WORKING GROUP
The Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee helps partners expand access to youth voting through policy, provide critical information about youth voting, and share tools and resources for advocates to be successful in their efforts to expand young people’s access to the ballot. The Fair Elections Center's Campus Vote Project is the leader of the Youth Voting Rights Working Group. 

STUDENT ELECTION WORKER RECRUITMENT WORKING GROUP
Polling locations are powered by people in our communities. Misinformation, fears around COVID, confusion around polling locations, and more, are driving down the already inadequate numbers of people raising their hand to become local poll workers. So, students and young people will be critical to our election infrastructure this year. As part of our partnership with Power the Polls, the SLSV Coalition is convening a working group to help coordinate efforts to safely recruit students to be election workers, share best practices, and develop messaging.

CENSUS WORKING GROUP
The Census Working Group is a space where partners can coordinate with stakeholders and campuses from all over the country to ensure a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census, provide a space to share best practices and information about the Census and Census organizing, and share resources campuses and nonprofits can use to support their communities in filling out the Census. 

SLSV BOOK CLUB
The SLSV Book Club is a space for Coalition partners to read democracy-related books, learn together, and get to know other Coalition members.

Statewide student democracy or voter summits and networks are invaluable to furthering democratic engagement on college campuses across the country. These summits play a critical role in making sure colleges and universities have access to the support, tools, and information they need to engage students in local, state, and national elections, and in our democracy more broadly. Colleges and universities who attend have the opportunity to create high-quality democratic engagement action plans. Student democracy summits have led to hundreds more colleges and universities making a commitment to engage their students as voters and created ongoing in-state learning networks. 

Since 2018, the SLSV Coalition has funded or helped convene state summit organizers for over 35 summits in 15 states. Depending on the summit, our role may range from organizer, consultant, plenary speaker, or workshop facilitator. 


A collaborative effort between LeadMN, the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project, and the University of Texas at Austin, the Student Democracy Summit Guide is a best practices toolkit for campuses and statewide networks that want to host student democracy summits. 

 

UPCOMING STATE SUMMITS:

 

Nevada Student Voter Summit | September 9, 2020 | Registration Link 

The nonpartisan summit will convene college students, faculty, and staff from Nevada higher education institutions around non-partisan, campus-wide voter engagement efforts. Participants will learn about, create, and share innovative strategies as well as learn practical information to support college voter registration, voter education, and electoral participation. 

HBCU Student Voter Summit | September 10-11th, 2020 | Registration Link 

This November, Americans will experience one of the most critical elections of our lifetime. Even though Millennials and Gen Zers make up one of the largest voting-eligible groups in the country, students—especially Black students—are up against some of the most egregious voter suppression tactics aided by systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic. This first-ever National HBCU Voting (virtual) Summit will bring together HBCUs from around the country to prepare students to vote in 2020 and beyond.

North Carolina College Voter Summit | September 11-12, 2020 | Registration Link 

The 5th Annual NC College Voter Summit will virtually convene students, faculty, and staff who lead non-partisan, campus-wide voter engagement efforts. This event is hosted by the NC Campus Voting Coalition.  Participants will create and share innovative strategies as well as learn practical information to support college voter registration, voter education, and electoral participation.

Alabama Student Voter Summit | September 12, 2020 | Registration Link 

The Andrew Goodman Foundation will convene the Alabama Voting Summit. Hosted by the University of Alabama, this virtual conference will bring together higher education institutions from around Alabama to create action plans that support student turnout in 2020 and beyond.

Pennsylvania Student Voting Summit | September 16, 2020 | Registration Link 

The Virtual Pennsylvania Student Voting Summit is organized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and Campus Vote Project. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar will be speaking. Participants have the opportunity to learn about important election updates from the Pennsylvania Department of State, hear about in-person and virtual voter engagement strategies from nonpartisan partners, and connect with others doing this work.

California Student Voter Summit | September 18, 2020 | Registration Link 

This summit will bring together college campuses across the state to enhance civic learning and engagement planning for 2020. The summit is free to attend and will feature sessions on best practices in civic engagement, digital organizing, racism in voter engagement, and action planning sessions for individual campuses.