Today’s blog post comes to us from Josh Young, Director of Miami Dade College’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy.  Josh is a remarkable leader in the field of civic education on both a national and regional level.  For more information feel free to contact Josh at jyoung@mdc.edu / 305-237-7477.

Miami Dade College is like most higher education institutions in that unfortunately the only time there is a real buzz about voting and voter registration is every four years in the fall term prior to a presidential election.

MDC joined TurboVote in the winter of 2012, and we are proud that more than 2,400 of our students signed up during the fall term. We knew, however, that we could do better  for two reasons:

  1. We have a huge student population spread among eight campuses, and 2,400 students is just a small fraction of those eligible to participate in TurboVote.
  2. We wanted to make voting and voter registration a hallmark of the student experience at MDC.

With this in mind, we recently convened 70 students, deans, directors, faculty, students, and staff from all eight of our campuses.

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The goals of this meeting were twofold:

  1. Identify how MDC can integrate TurboVote in the admissions/registration/orientation processes so that every student receives all the information and materials to vote in every election, and
  2. Develop an implementation plan to ensure that MDC is a national leader in higher education in student voter registration and participation.

The meeting was extremely successful because we were able to do a demonstration of TurboVote so everyone fully understood how it worked, and we were able to secure buy-in from key leaders throughout the college – such as student and academic deans, student life directors, registrars, chief information officers, directors of media relations, the college webmaster, campus presidents, civic engagement office directors, and many others.

We are now hard at work on an implementation plan, and we also will be naming a college-wide TurboVote implementation committee, and identify a point person for TurboVote on each campus. We are identifying where we can infuse TurboVote in the admission, orientation, and registration processes so every student is invited to sign up.