Pacific Named Voter Friendly Campus for 2021-2022
Pacific University is among a select group of campuses around the country and the only institution in Oregon designated as a Voter Friendly Campus for 2021-2022. More than 200 institutions received the ranking from the Fair Election Center's Campus Vote Project and NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
The designation is the result in part of the university’s participation in the All-In Campus Democracy Challenge for Pacific Votes spearheaded by the Tom McCall Center for Civic Engagement. The center promotes the value of life long active citizenship, building a sense of empowerment to effect meaningful social participation, while cultivating the development of critical thinking skills and the capacity to reflect on one’s own set of values.
“The Voter Friendly Campus designation is important for Pacific because it signals to everyone in our community that we take civic engagement seriously and that we will work hard to create opportunities for students to be active and informed voters,” said Stephanie Stokamer, director of Pacific’s Tom McCall Center for Civic Engagement. “The designation is also a feather in the cap of the students and staff of the MCCE, who have worked very hard to promote voter engagement at Pacific.”
The comprehensive Pacific Votes campaign — guided by the Pacific University Action Plan for Strengthening American Democracy — targeted voter engagement through voter registration, voter education and voter turnout. Strategic efforts included a 2020 Voter Pledge, civic engagement videos, voting information and pre- and post-election events and forums.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, MCCE was able to empower students with the tools needed to participate in the political process leading to historic youth voter turnout and opened the door to lifelong civic engagement.
“People who start voting at a young age are likely to continue to vote throughout their lifetime. Voter engagement in college therefore matters for whole generations being able to more fully utilize their civic power over the course of their lives,” said Stokamer. “ The voter Friendly Campus designation suggests that Pacific is playing a part in empowering citizens for lifelong and informed electoral participation.”
MCCE also participated in the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), which helped provide a window into the voting habits of Pacific students and built a national database for research on college student political learning and engagement in democracy. The most recent NSLVE report tracks Pacific student voting rates in 2014 and 2018.
In the fall, Washington Monthly named Pacific University among its 2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll.