DALLAS — The Texas Woman’s University staff is working to increase student voting in the midst of election season through several new initiatives to prepare students to vote and be informed about the political process.
Stephanie Krauth, associate vice president for student engagement, told the TWU Board of Regents on Friday that voting and voter registration has increased significantly from 2014 to 2018, with 48.3% of students voting in the 2018 midterm election.
“Civic engagement and wrapping our brain around that concept and making it part of the campus ethos is very much a part of the student life strategic plan,” she said. “It is intentionally nonpartisan in nature. Really, our desire is to help our students see civic engagement and responsibility as a natural part of their lives.”
TWU’s Denton campus now has a polling location, something regents pushed for last year, and students, faculty and staff were able to take a class on campus to become voter registrars in January. There are plans for talks at various classes on campus to promote the importance of voting, for students who wouldn’t normally stop at a voter registration table or attend an event.
The school also formed partnerships with the Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Campus Vote Project, two nonpartisan foundations that have funded four new paid interns whose jobs are to increase voter engagement on campus.
“For us, it has been really important to make civic engagement something that is very much a student-led initiative,” Krauth said. “That’s why we did the voter deputy registration, and that’s why we have these interns.”
There’s also new voter education classes that are coming to campus thanks to the League of Women Voters. There will be a training session to help students understand how to vote and why it matters, Krauth said.
“Getting folks registered is one thing; we wanted to get them to the polls and make sure they understood the importance of voting in and of itself,” she said.
There’s also voter outreach underway at the Dallas and Houston campuses through the student life offices.
Also at the meeting, regents passed new tuition and fee increases for the next two years and renamed the newest $54 million building the Scientific Research Commons.