By engaging online and in-person strategies, student organizations and faculty departments, Mizzou has tackled civic engagement from all angles. The combination of these strategies along with a concerted team effort has resulted in an impressive quantity of TurboVote signups and, more broadly, an increased awareness of the democratic process among students.
Presenting to a captive audience
Laura Satkowski, a former representative on the Graduate Professional Council, led the charge to put voter registration—and TurboVote, specifically—at the forefront of conversations among graduate students. Facing an auditorium packed with graduate student representatives of every graduate and professional department, Laura, alongside the local county clerk, did a walkthrough of the voter registration process and stressed the importance of disseminating the information to each representative’s respective department. These efforts resulted in a well-placed TurboVote link on department websites as well as a voter registration presentation in department orientations.
The enthusiasm Laura evoked for civic engagement at Mizzou also found its way to the undergraduate level, where the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) built upon their weekly voter registration tabling events by placing laptops on tables and harnessing the power of on-the-ground bottlenecks. ASUM was also largely responsible for uniting the efforts of other undergraduate student organizations and departments directly involved with student life, for example Tigers Advancing Political Participation (TAPP) and the Residence Hall Association (RHA). As a result of this collaboration, whispers of TurboVote were heard at Residence Hall meetings and, this coming fall, a TurboVote walkthrough will be incorporated into new student orientation for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Pre-election IT integration and publicity
Not only has Mizzou successfully engaged student voters through in-person interactions, but they have also tackled civic engagement through social media and IT integration. Through the consistent push of the Mizzou IT department, students can open the homepage of the GoMizzou app—the main channel by which students receive campus updates and important information—and click a link to TurboVote in the full week leading up to every registration deadline. This visibility is accompanied by an email sent out to the entire student body and consistent social media pushes via Twitter and Facebook. Through the concerted use of these online bottlenecks, it's very difficult for a Mizzou student not to know about upcoming registration deadlines!
This year, Christopher Dade and Michael Hendricks will be at the helm of voter registration with the goal of doubling their voter signups. If they continue to engage students from all angles as Mizzou has successfully done so far, we have no doubt they will achieve—and even surpass—their goal. Go Mizzou and go Tigers!