For the fourth year in a row, the University of Nevada, Reno is being nationally recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus.
The University was one of 258 campuses across the country to receive this designation. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes 49 Minority Serving Institutions and 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“This recognition highlights the engagement our campus has with the important local, regional and national issues that matter to them. Voting is the ultimate form of civic engagement and for many of our students, it is their first time,” University Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis said. “The work of student leaders, staff and faculty helps to demystify the process and create an inclusive opportunity for our educated students to have a voice.”
Each year, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Fair Election Center’s Campus Vote Project acknowledge institutions that encourage their students to register and vote in recent elections and in coming years.
The mission of this year’s Voter Friendly Campus designation was to support universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process every year, not just during years with federal elections.
Schools who applied for this designation were evaluated based on their written plans for registering student voters, educating students about voting, the overall turnout of their student voters from 2022, the way that voter engagement was facilitated on campus and an overall final analysis of their efforts.
“The University of Nevada, Reno experienced an increase in student voter turnout from the 2016 to the 2020 national presidential election, according to the National Study of Learning and Engagement, completed by Tufts University,” Center for Student Engagement (CSE) Associate Director Amy Koeckes said. “While the national voting average for all institutions of higher learning is 66 percent, the University's average was 72.1 percent in 2020 according to the data.”
As part of the effort to become a designated Voter Friendly Campus, the CSE, alongside the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, focused on hosting various informational sessions and other voting-related events specifically to work on increasing student civic engagement.
“Our plans are to continue to impart civic generational wealth on our students so that they and future generations of their families commit to democratic engagement as a familial value and remain committed to the health of our democracy,” CSE Director Sandra Rodríguez said.
This recognition not only adds to UNR’s mission to prepare students to be civically engaged even after they leave campus, but the University is also eager to continue engaging students in the future.