On November 1, Hendrix College was named to Washington Monthly’s 2018 America’s Best Colleges For Student Voting. A part of The College Guide and Rankings – which rates colleges and universities on their contributions to social mobility, research, and public service – this is a first-of-its-kind list of the schools doing the most to turn students into citizens.
“Over the years, we’ve done a good deal to encourage our students to think about how they can be engaged citizens,” said Dr. Jay Barth, professor of politics and director of civic engagement projects for the College. “This starts when students arrive on campus with the first-semester seminar The Engaged Citizen. But, in reality, we know the importance of having an on-campus voting site for easing the process of voting for students. I’m so thankful that when having an on-campus site was threatened several years ago, our students stood and fought to be sure we could maintain a voting center on campus.”
The inclusion of Hendrix on the list demonstrates the commitment the College has made to promote civic engagement among the student body, encouraging students to vote and actively participate in community decisions.
According to Washington Monthly , “ Since voting habits tend to crystallize in young adulthood—vote in one election, and you’re far more likely to do so again—colleges and universities have an unparalleled opportunity to create voters not just for the next election, but for life. The colleges that invest in student voting aren’t just helping their Washington Monthly rankings—they’re helping the country.”
Ensuring that the nation’s young people—its future leaders—are inspired to engage civically is key to strengthening democracy. On many college and university campuses, less than half of eligible student voters exercise their democratic right to cast a ballot in presidential elections.
To do its part in improving youth civic engagement, Hendrix College participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates.
Hendrix also participates in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national, nonpartisan awards program recognizing colleges and universities for improving civic learning, political engagement, and student voting rates. As a part of this initiative, students, faculty, and staff have worked together to develop and implement an action plan to improve practice and change culture. Through our efforts, we have committed to graduating active and informed citizens.