MILWAUKEE − During the 2018-2019 academic year, Campus Compact for Wisconsin (CCWI) partnered with Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP), a national, nonpartisan organization, to increase student voter engagement at college campuses across the state, namely through CEEP’s revamped student Fellows program.
CEEP hired a total of 25 student Fellows at 14 schools in Wisconsin, including public, private, and technical campuses. The Fellows were tasked with building excitement and increasing voter engagement among their peers leading up to the 2018 midterm election.
“I think I actually made a difference in the student voting numbers for this midterm election,” Sydney Mastey, a CEEP Fellow at UW-Superior, said. “I contacted students and gave them information that I don’t believe they would have received otherwise.”
The Fellows were asked to complete a total of six events, two in each of the following categories: voter registration, voter education, and get out the vote. CEEP provided the Fellows with useful resources including nonpartisan candidate guides for gubernatorial and Senate races in Wisconsin to aid in their work.
“This was a great experience,” Thong Xiong, a CEEP Fellow at Fox Valley Technical College, said. “I was able to pass on my knowledge to a lot of people, and most of all got people engaged.”
CCWI provided additional support to the Fellows, including in-person campus visits from Trina Van Schyndel, Director of CCWI. CCWI also helped promote the opportunity to schools and gave CEEP access to its vast network to help find on-campus advisors for the Fellows.
“This has motivated me to continue my political activism and has left me asking what more can I do,” Andrew Gray, a CEEP Fellow at UW-Milwaukee, said. Gray is continuing the Fellowship this spring.
CEEP has kept on three Fellows in Wisconsin in Spring 2019, one at each of the following schools: UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. CCWI will continue to provide additional support to these students as they work toward institutionalizing electoral engagement on their campuses.
As part of this new pilot program, the Fellows will be working on projects that include integrating voter registration into new student orientation and first-year experience courses, as well as creating nonpartisan student organizations to lobby for institutional change.
“CEEP has begun piloting a year-round Fellowship program with an increased focus on institutionalizing engagement programs, in addition to its focus on immediate impact,” Courtney Cochran, National Fellowship Director of CEEP, said. “The Fellows have described this experience as an effective way to leave their mark on their campuses.”
According to Cochran, CEEP is looking to expand this pilot program focused on institutionalization and hopes to have a total of 300 Fellows nationally in 2020.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1,000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. We build democracy through civic education and community development. Our national office is in Boston, MA, with state and regional Campus Compacts providing place-based support for member institutions located throughout the country. Campus Compact for Wisconsin (CCWI) was established in 2002 and comprises 27 members including public, private, and technical campuses.
Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) is a national nonpartisan project that helps administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state and local elections.
Trina Van Schyndel
Campus Compact for Wisconsin
Campus Election Engagement Project