COVID-19 Updates and Information

Voter Engagement Plan and NSLVE Data

  Voter Registration Table

National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement – Data for Frostburg State University

2016 |  2018 |  2020 

Campus Voter Engagement Plans

2018 |  2020 |  2022

 

Campus Voter Engagement Plan 2021-22

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Civic Engagement is engrained into the culture at Frostburg State University (FSU) and is one of the institution's strategic priorities. As part of this effort, the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) works to foster active citizenship amongst the student body through co-curricular activities and curricular partnerships. A key component of the OCE mission is to engage students in the democratic process which includes voting. Frostburg State University’s Campus Voter Engagement Plan was developed and is implemented by the Office of Civic Engagement to guide its efforts in increasing student knowledge and participation in the voting process. The OCE efforts in implementing this plan will be guided by the Democratic Engagement Advisory Group.

The OCE efforts over the past 8 years have led to improved voting rates among the student body. In 2020, NSLVE data shows that student turnout rose by 10% to 65.6%. Additionally, during the 2018 mid-term elections, voter turnout was 38.4%, a 20.1% increase from the 2014 mid-term elections. The OCE efforts continue to build on its strengths and partnerships as we work toward the 2022 mid-term elections with efforts focusing on education, ballot access, registration, and student turnout.

GOALS


SHORT TERM

  • Increase Student Registration from 86.3% to 90%
  • Increase student voting rate by 5% from 2018 to 43.4% in 2022 (NSLVE)
  • Receive All IN Democracy Challenge Gold Seal
  • Increase student confidence in the voting process
  • Increase Student Organization participation in democratic engagement education programming
  • Increase voter turnout for identified low turnout majors based on mid-term NSLVE data: Communication and Journalism (30.5%) & Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and protective Services (31.6%)

LONG TERM

  • Implement an on-campus polling location
  • Continued increase of student registration and turnout in national and local elections to achieve 100% student voting rate of eligible students

 

COMMITMENT & LANDSCAPE

Frostburg State University is one of twelve institutions in the University System of Maryland and is located in the Appalachian region of Western Maryland with many of its students coming from the greater Baltimore/DC area. FSU serves one of the most diverse student bodies in the system and has the highest minority population outside of the traditional HBCU’s. The local region faces challenges including increased poverty, limited public transportation, and reduced resources. FSU strives to engage students in the local community through volunteerism and national service to combat local issues while offering impactful experiences to our students.
The division of Student Affairs at Frostburg State University’s mission is to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement to enhance personal and professional growth within supportive and inclusive environments, transforming students into leaders prepared for our complex and changing global society. In line with this mission, the office of Civic Engagement is dedicated to fostering active citizenship and strives to build citizen leaders for the 21st century. As active citizens, students educate themselves about, and become involved in, their local, national, and global communities. Through democratic engagement, community organizing, and inclusivity, these active citizen leaders are enabled to combat public concerns at their core and strengthen their greater community.

This commitment has been strengthened by our more recent emphasis on experiential learning. Our work has also been guided by National Campus Compact, the Corporation for National and Community Service, NASPA’s Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement initiative, the American Democracy Project, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. The overarching theme of our Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiative is to foster informed and engaged citizen leaders within their community. Our goals are achieved through our four pillars of Civic Engagement: Democratic Engagement, Volunteerism, Service-learning, and National Service. Through these four programmatic components, we work to engage students in their community; educate them on the political process, and foster life-long involvement as citizen leaders.

 


LEADERSHIP


Frostburg State University engages individuals and groups both on and off-campus to support our Voter Engagement and education efforts. On-campus the Democratic Engagement Advisory Group works together to strategically plan ongoing democratic engagement efforts and programming including specific efforts focused on voter engagement. In addition to this group, each election year, the office of civic engagement convenes a Voter Engagement Committee to help organize resources, plan events, find guest speakers, and develop marketing strategies to engage students in the voting process. The group begins meeting on a monthly basis in July leading up to the election. Finally, the University works with multiple State and National partners to ensure the use of best practices, to identify resources, and to report on our efforts.

DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT ADVISORY GROUP

  • Dr. Artie Travis, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • William Mandicott, Assistant VP for Student & Community Involvement
  • Patrick O’Brien, Director of Civic Engagement
  • Timothy Magrath, Political Science Professor and Director of J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs
  • Robert Cooper, Director – Student Life
  • Ariyana Ward, President – Student Government Association
  • Delanie Blubaugh – Student Civic Leader
  • Courtney Tipton – Student Civic Leader


VOTER ENGAGEMENT TEAM


Participants in this group regularly consist of representatives from organizations such as:

 

  • Office of Civic Engagement
  • J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs
  • Allegany County Board of Elections
  • League of Women Voters
  • Women’s Action Coalition
  • NAACP
  • Student Government Association
  • Voter Engagement Student Employees
  • Student Civic Leaders
  • FSU Faculty & Staff
  • Lewis J. Ort Library Staff
  • Student Organizations


NATIONAL PARTNERS

 

STRATEGIES


VOTER ENGAGEMENT STUDENT STAFF & CIVIC LEADERS


With funding support from the Frostburg State University Foundation, two Voter Engagement Student Staff will be hired for the fall semester to help with voter education, registration, and marketing. These two students will host voter registration tables, work with our Social Marketing Team to develop a series of social marketing campaigns and present voter information in classes and at student organization meetings.


VOTER REGISTRATION


BOBCATS VOTE WEBPAGE 
The Bobcats Vote webpage is a centralized location for student voter information. This page includes upcoming deadlines, links to voter registration including TurboVote, our voter engagement plan, NSLVE data, and information on polling locations, mail-in voting, early voting, and election day shuttles. The website also contains information about how to be more engaged in the voting process including how to become a poll worker for upcoming elections.

TURBOVOTE
FSU partners with TurboVote to offer students an online platform for all of their voting needs no matter where they are registered to vote. TurboVote helps students register to vote, obtain absentee ballots and offers email and text message reminders about upcoming elections, polling locations, and other important voter information.

VOTER INFORMATION TABLES
During the 2022 Fall Semester the office of Civic Engagement with help from the Voter Engagement Student Staff host weekly voter information tables in the Student Union, the Lane University Center. At these tables, students can learn more about the voting process, register to vote, obtain absentee ballots, find polling locations, and information about early voting and election day activities.


CIVIC HOLIDAYS


NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY
On September 27th FSU hosts National Voter Registration Day on campus. Activities for the day include an email from Vice President Artie Travis, a social marketing campaign, voter registration & absentee ballot activities in the Lane University Center, and more. Partners for this event include the Office of Civic Engagement, the Allegany County Board of Elections, the Student Government Association, Community Organizations, and student organizations.

VOTER EDUCATION WEEK
Each October, FSU takes part in Voter Education Week and promotes action items each day of the week through social media to prepare students to vote. These action items include Registering to vote, requesting a mail-in ballot, making a plan to vote, learning what’s on the ballot, and getting more involved in the voting process.

VOTE EARLY DAY
In October, FSU promotes Vote Early Day, to educate students about the early voting process, where they can vote early, when early voting is available, and resources about their ballot. This effort is put out via social media as well as in the student union at one of our many voting tables throughout the semester.

ELECTION HERO DAY
In November, for Election Hero Day, FSU will be recognizing students, faculty, and staff that take the time to act as poll workers and will be working to put together interviews to be shared on the bobcats vote page and social media of poll workers discussing their experience, and why they choose to volunteer.


OFFICE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT WALK-INS

OCE staff act as an ongoing resource for voter information for students. Staff will be trained in the most up-to-date information and regulations on voter registration, absentee ballots, polling locations, and more. Any student at FSU can come into the OCE located in the student union and receive voter information and assistance with their voting needs anytime during regular business hours.


VOTER EDUCATION


TIMES TALKS & NEW YORK TIMES SUBSCRIPTION PROGRAM
As part of its efforts to increase student awareness and education in current events, FSU has purchased a campus-wide subscription to the New York Times. This subscription has allowed the OCE in partnership with the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to host weekly Times Talk Events. Every week, students, faculty, and staff meet to discuss a current topic focused on politics and/or diversity, equity, and inclusion. A student, staff, or faculty member picks a recent NYT article to act as the basis of discussion. These discussions allow for students to voice their opinions, learn the opinions of others, and take part in a rigorous discussion about the topic for the week.

TOWN HALL MEETINGS
In collaboration with the J. Glenn Beall Institute of Public Affairs and the Student Government Association, the OCE hosts three Town Hall Meetings every semester for large group discussion. Each town hall has an overarching theme, but topics for the discussion are left up to the students who participate. For the Fall 2022 semester, the themes for these town halls will focus on the upcoming election. The first town hall will be focused on local and state issues, the second, on national and global issues, and the third will act as a candidates’ forum, where students can come to discuss who they are supporting, their platforms, and why they believe that candidate is the best suited for the position.

CANDIDATE & BALLOT EDUCATION
To ensure students are confident when they go to vote, the OCE will host a special information table during the two weeks leading up to the election. At this table, students can obtain sample ballots from every county in MD along with some adjacent counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. There will also be information on how to find details on candidates’ platforms for multiple issues including resources like Ballotpedia and Vote411.

CONSTITUTION DAY
In partnership with the Ort Library, the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs, and the OCE, FSU hosts constitution day every year. Events include voter registration information, constitution trivia, and free pocket constitutions. Each year, a special constitution event is planned as part of the day’s activities. Past events have included historical reenactments from Ben Franklin and George Washington, and most recently a virtual event from a storyteller co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Allegany College of Maryland, and Hagerstown Community College.

SPEAKER SERIES
During the fall semester of an election year, the Office of Civic Engagement in partnership with the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs hosts a series of democratic-focused speakers to discuss why they have become involved in the democratic process and the importance of voting. Guest for this series in the past have included U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, Sam Novey of TurboVote & Mile 22, an Alumni panel of political operatives, and more.


BALLOT ACCESS


TURBOVOTE REMINDERS
Students can sign up with TurboVote to receive reminders and information on polling locations, registration and absentee ballot deadlines, and election day information.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS
With many students registered at their permanent address in other counties in MD or other states, FSU focuses on educating students on the mail-in ballot process and assisting students in obtaining and turning in their mail-in ballots. As part of this initiative, FSU’s SafeRide program provides rides to a local ballot drop box on Sundays as well as on election day as part of the voter shuttle program for students to turn in their mail-in ballots.

>PARTNERSHIP WITH BOARD OF ELECTIONS
As student voter turnout has increased over the years, FSU and the Allegany County Board of Elections have worked together to better accommodate students on election day. At the closest polling location to the campus, the county has worked to obtain more provisional ballots, more provisional ballot booths, and developed a two-line system to better accommodate local and provisional voters. During election day, the OCE staff and the polling location stay in touch to help troubleshoot any issues that arise. Most recently, this partnership has allowed for discussions on potentially implementing a polling location on campus for future elections.

VOTER SHUTTLES
On election day, the OCE in partnership with SGA’s SafeRide program hosts a voter shuttle from a centralized location on campus to the local polling location starting at 7:00 am and running every 15 minutes. Staff stay in communication with the shuttle driver and the local polling location and work to divert drop-offs to secondary locations if long lines begin to form, or if issues arise such as voting machines going down, or if provisional ballots run low, to ensure students have the best voting experience possible.


ELECTION DAY CELEBRATION


STUDENT UNION ELECTION DAY CELEBRATION
On election day with the help of the Lane University Center Centralized Tech Crew the student union is transformed with election day regalia. Red, white, and blue lighting and balloons are utilized throughout the union, voter shuttle information is prominently posted, and information about the evening's election night viewing party is readily available.

WHY I VOTED ACTIVITY
As part of our Election Day celebration, the OCE hosts a table including a democracy wall where students can write statements about why they voted, and what issues are important to them. The table also includes red, white, and blue cookies and “I Voted Absentee” stickers. Students are encouraged to use the hashtag #BobcatsVote for the day.

 


COVID-19 CONTINGENCIES


Frostburg State University is actively working to stay up to date on the most recent state and national orders, CDC recommendations, and changes in the voting process. As new information is released, this engagement plan will be adjusted to accommodate our student’s needs. Areas of focus for this effort include but are not limited to:
  • Adjusting programming to online platforms to adhere to social distancing guidelines
  • An increased focus on obtaining absentee ballots in the event of a vote by mail only requirement.
    • Working with the Allegany County Board of elections to develop a ballot drop-off location on campus.
  • Increased online and social marketing campaigns and information in the event the University moves to a full or partial online learning format.
  • Increased web presence for all voter information.
    • Voting informational videos
    • Virtual Q&A
    • Candidate information & Sample Ballots
    • Utilization of Bobcat Connect Student Organization Platform & Canvas to promote voter engagement

 


EVALUATION, NSLVE, & REPORTING undefined

The OCE will work to evaluate its voter programming and efforts during implementation as well as the final results of university efforts after the election. Evaluation efforts include:
  • Post-Surveys and attendance counts at all education-focused events
  • Tracking of use, voter registration, absentee ballots, and reminders through TurboVote
  • Tracking of Voter Registration during National Voter Registration Day
  • Involvement in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE)
  • Tracking of student use of the three local polling locations by the Allegany County Board of Elections
The Campus Voter Engagement Report along with NSLVE Data and evaluation results will be shared with the campus as well as our community partners. Both the FSU Plan and NSLVE Data will be shared publicly on the FSU website, as well as with our national partners including the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and Voter Friendly Campus.

 

Tenative Timeline

January

24 Classes Begin

February

10 Times Talk
17 Times Talk
24 Times Talk

March

1 Town Hall
3 Times Talk
10 Times Talk
15 Town Hall
17 Times Talk
24 Times Talk
31 Times Talk

April

5 Town Hall
7 Times Talk
14 Times Talk
21 Times Talk
28 Times Talk

May

June

7 MD Voter Registration Deadline for Primary
16-23 Early Voting for the Primary Election
21 Deadline to request Mail-in Ballot by Mail or fax
24 Deadline to request Mail-in Ballot online
28 Primary Election

July

The first meeting of the Voter Engagement Committee

August

The first meeting of the Voter Engagement Committee
29 First Day of Classes

September

Weekly Voter Registration Tables begin
Voter Engagement Committee Meeting
15 Times Talk
16 Constitution Day (Celebrated on campus)
22 Times Talk
27 National Voter Registration Day
29 Times Talk

October

Weekly Voter Registration Tables 
Voter Engagement Committee Meeting
Voter Education Week
Candidate & Sample Ballot Information Tables
Vote Early Day undefined
4 Town Hall
6 Times Talk
13 Times Talk
18 MD Voter Registration Deadline
20 Times Talk
27-Nov 3 MD Early Voting
18 Town Hall
27 Times Talk
30 Absentee Ballot Request Deadline (online) undefined

November

Weekly Voter Registration Tables 
Voter Engagement Committee Meeting

1 Deadline to request Mail-in Ballot by mail or fax
Town Hall
3 Times Talk
4 Deadline to request Mail-in Ballot online
7 Election Hero Day
8  ELECTION DAY!
Deadline for Mail-In Ballots
Election Day Events: Voter Shuttle, Why I Voted Activities, I voted

Absentee. Note: Voter registration is available in person on the day of the election
10 Times Talk Thursday
17 Times Talk Thursday

December

Weekly Voter Registration Tables 
Voter Engagement Committee Meeting

View All Events

FOLLOW CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

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Contact Office of Civic Engagement

Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien
Director, Civic Engagement
civicengagement@frostburg.edu


Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Lane University Center 234
Frostburg, MD 21532
Phone: 301.687.4210
Fax: 301.687.7049