Stellar student engagement

UWL students line up to vote in 2016.

UWL receives gold seal for excellence in student voter engagement

UW-La Crosse received a gold seal at the national ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony for achieving a student voting rate between 40% and 49%. Colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates were honored Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  

A full list of seal awardees can be viewed here

“UWL students have always shown strong engagement through activities on campus and in student government,” says Larry Ringgenberg, UWL director of University Centers.  “The increased voter turnout is reflective of student voter registration efforts and a real sign of how much our students care about our state and country.” 

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, UWL students John Lawlis and Kathryn Draper led voter registration efforts and also worked to improve voter turnout on election day. The two worked with the League of Women Voters, the city clerk and student volunteers to get out the vote, notes Ringgenberg.  

Nationally student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.  

At UWL, a total of 4,796 UWL students voted in the 2018 mid-term, or about 47%, compared to about 28 percent in 2014, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE). This was a higher percentage than the 39% voting rate across all institutions nationally who participated in the NSLVE. 

“Our students have a long and outstanding tradition of participating in elections at rates well above the national average, so we’re very proud to see them being given this impressive national recognition,” says UWL Chancellor Joe Gow. “And it would be wonderful if this much-deserved citation leads to even higher rates of UWL student voting in future elections.” 

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. 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.  

“We are excited to honor UW-La Crosse with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “More institutions like UWL are changing culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.” 

More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.