MACON – Mercer was recognized as part of the inaugural ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge to increase college student voting. The University received a bronze seal for achieving a student voter turnout rate between 50 and 59 percent.
“This is great news and reflects a lot of hard work by students and staff,” said Dr. Douglas R. Pearson, vice president and dean of students at Mercer. “Several years ago, student leaders and the Division of Student Affairs decided to make civic engagement a clear area of focus for student life at our institution, and this national recognition supports that these efforts have been worthwhile. Our students truly care about the world around them and are committed to being active and educated voters.”
Student participation in elections has increased during the past few years. A recent report, titled “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting,” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), an initiative of Tufts University's Institute for Democracy in Higher Education, shows that, between the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, student voting went from 45.1 percent of eligible voters to 48.3 percent.
Mercer had a record-setting 56.4 percent of students vote in the 2016 election, which also earned the University the top award for “Highest Student Voter Participation” in “SoCon Votes,” the first NCAA Division I conference championship for voter participation.
“I am proud to honor Mercer with an ALL IN Challenge bronze seal in recognition of the University's dedication, hard work and achievement,” said Zaneeta E. Daver, director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “Mercer is not only ensuring that a more representative population participates in our nation's democracy, but is educating students to be civic-minded. They are an example to be emulated.”
The awards ceremony for the ALL IN Challenge was held Oct. 19. A full list of awardees can be viewed here.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus.
By joining the Challenge, campuses commit to:
Convening a campus-wide committee that includes members from academic affairs, student affairs and the student body, as well as any other relevant stakeholders. Developing and implementing an action plan to improve democratic engagement. Participating in the NSLVE in order to measure student voting rates. Sharing their campus' action plan and NSLVE results in order to be eligible for a recognition seal and/or awards.
More than 300 campuses, enrolling more than four million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in the summer of 2016.