The Morgridge Center for Public Service is delighted to welcome Zachery Holder to the team as the new voter engagement and civic learning coordinator.
Holder brings valuable experience from UW-Housing where he worked with students in a number of learning communities including the International Learning Community, Transfer House, and Chadbourne Residential College. This direct collaboration with UW-Madison students will inform his civic engagement work on campus.
Holder served on the Morgridge Center steering committee of Community Partnerships and Outreach and the BadgersVote Coalition as the UW-Housing representative. Holder says these experiences drew him to the Morgridge Center’s voter and civic engagement coordinator position.
“It was just the passion in the Morgridge Center — of the people and their care, in the different initiatives and in the constant focus on serving the community,” Holder says. “From the campus scale to the broader community, it always felt like a place I wanted to be a part of.”
Before coming to UW-Housing in 2016, Holder received a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in film from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s of science degree in student affairs and higher education from Missouri State University.
Holder landed his first job at Florida Gulf Coast University where he worked with students in the university’s Living Learning Community of Leadership Through Service. Holder said this experience sparked his desire to do civic engagement work in higher education as a servant leader.
“Those groups of students just really empowered and excited me, and I knew that was the kind of work I really had passion for,” Holder says.
In the newly created position, Holder will work with UW-Madison and community partners on nonpartisan democratic engagement and civic learning alongside the BadgersVote Coalition.
Holder hopes to increase student participation in the democratic process and engage student demographics at UW-Madison with historically low voter-turnouts — including students of color, STEM majors and graduate students. Holder also hopes to use his position to address voter suppression and strengthen the civic engagement tradition of the UW-Madison community.
“I would love for it to be just as natural for students to participate in being civically engaged as it is for them to want to attend a sporting event,” Holder says. “Students should be here because it’s a campus where they can ensure their voice is heard.”
Holder embraces the Wisconsin Idea and Morgridge Center values — hoping to ensure students’ civic engagement on campus and beyond.