Today, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge hosted its third biennial awards ceremony to recognize select higher education institutions, educators, and students for their extraordinary work in student voter engagement during the 2020 presidential election. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and most students learning virtually, the honorees ensured students across the country could cast their ballots.
The 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S. history. The College of New Jersey received the 2021 Best in Class Overall Highest Voting Rate at a Public, 4-year Award. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge.
“This award means that TCNJ students continue to bring to life the mission of TCNJ,” said Brittany Aydelotte, director of the Community Engaged Learning Institute and co-chair of the TCNJ Votes! initiative. “They showed that they are responsible citizens and leaders, and are working to sustain and enhance their communities. It means that students not only understand the importance of being civically engaged but take action to show how much they care about their communities.”
The 2020 election cycle saw unprecedented voter registration and turnout among college students according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. IDHE reported that 66 percent of college students voted in the 2020 election, a 14 point increase from 2016. Data provided by IDHE shows TCNJ’s voting rate increased by 30% to 83.1% in 2020.
And TCNJ wants to continue raising that bar.
“We need to continue to engage our students in civic engagement even if it’s not an election year,” said Avani Rana, director of leadership at TCNJ and co-chair of the TCNJVotes! initiative. “It’s important for our community that individuals do their research and be informed voters. Find the issues that are important to you, do your research and look at multiple sources before you make your decision, and stay involved!”
ALL IN also awarded TCNJ with the 2021 Highest Voter Registration – 4-year, the Highest Voter Turnout – 4-year, and the Most Improved Voter Turnout 4-year Awards as a part of the New Jersey Ballot Bowl & Campus Voting Challenge. There are currently 19 states participating in the ALL IN State Voting Challenges, encompassing more than 426 institutions enrolling 4.3 million students.
“The rise in voter participation and engagement for college students in last year’s presidential election amidst a global pandemic was tremendous and will undoubtedly be tied to the tireless efforts of the dedicated students, faculty, administrators, and partner organizations that are part of the ALL IN Challenge network,” said Jen Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “The hard work of these trailblazing honorees will help support many of the country’s future leaders in fulfilling the equitable, engaged vision of democracy to which we aspire.”
About the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization. ALL IN strives for a more inclusive democracy—one in which all voices are heard. We believe that higher education plays a role in graduating students into voters and in closing electoral participation gaps that persist by race and age. Through an intentionally designed program—which provides structure, support, and recognition—ALL IN strengthens college and university efforts to improve civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation. Ensuring that students are registered to vote and participate in all elections is a key component of our work.
Learn more and see a full list of winning campuses at https://allinchallenge.org/awards-ceremony