Frostburg State University Designated Voter Friendly Campus Again

Mar 6, 2019 10:25 AM

Frostburg State University has once again been designated a Voter Friendly Campus by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. FSU is one of 123 designated schools in the country. FSU first received this recognition in 2017, following the 2016 presidential election.

The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. To merit the recognition, FSU enacted a comprehensive plan to engage students in the democratic process throughout the 2018 mid-term elections and fostered ongoing democratic engagement.

The success of these engagement efforts was evident by the increase in student turnout, including the approximately 450 students who cast provisional votes at the three Frostburg polling locations.

Among the engagement efforts was a series of Town Hall Meetings that engaged students in moderated discussions about prominent issues. With TurboVote, an online tool, Frostburg also facilitated student voter registration. TurboVote was continuously available through FSU webpages and publicized through numerous campus venues.

Cassie Conklin, an election judge at one of the Frostburg polling places, wrote a letter to The Cumberland Times-News, encouraging a polling place on campus for future elections.

“What is clear to me is this: Frostburg students are active participants in the future of this country and want to have their voices heard,” Conklin wrote.

In the months preceding the election, there were voter registration tables in the Lane University Center lobby every Tuesday. In addition, College Democrats met every Monday and College Republicans met every Wednesday to allow students to engage in discussion and learn more about the upcoming election. Author Winifred Conkling visited campus to talk about her book, “Votes for Women: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot,” and to speak to students about the importance of voting.

Information about absentee balloting ensured that students who were registered in distant districts knew how to cast their votes. A campus-wide communication campaign helped turn out the vote on Election Day and promoted awareness of the right to cast provisional ballots if students could not reach their home polling places. FSU offered free van shuttles to local polling locations.

More town halls and an Annapolis immersion trip are planned. Current efforts will be increased to educate students on the voting process by expanding marketing efforts to distribute voting information to students.

Just three other Maryland schools were designated Voter Friendly this year: Towson University, University of Maryland and University of Baltimore.

The Voter Friendly Campus Designation was created by NASPA and the Campus Vote Project to recognize campuses doing excellent work to empower students to engage with democracy.

For more information about civic engagement efforts at FSU, visit www.frostburg.edu/sci/civic-engagement-home.