Scottsdale Independent

Scottsdale Community College nationally recognized for student voter engagement

Artie the Artichoke, Scottsdale Community College’s mascot. (submitted photo)

Two Maricopa County Community Colleges were nationally honored on Oct. 19, at the inaugural ALL IN Challenge Awards Ceremony, recognizing colleges and universities committed to increasing college voting rates.

Scottsdale Community College and Mesa Community College each received Best in Class Awards for having the most improved student voting rate among all two-year institutions as well as within the medium and large, two-year institution categories.

More than 30 awards were announced at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.

“We are pleased to receive this national recognition for increasing student engagement and voting,” SCC President Dr. Jan Gehler said in a prepared statement. “Our Center for Civic and Global Engagement was instrumental in leading this effort to raise awareness among students about the importance of having a voice in local and national elections.”

Student participation in elections has increased in the past few years. A recent report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy in Higher Education, shows that between the 2012 presidential election and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1 percent of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3 percent in 2016 – a 7 percent improvement.

SCC’s data reveals that the college’s overall student body voting rate increased by 6.5 points and the rate among registered voters increased by about 10 points to about 73 percent, the press release stated.

“We work across disciplines to prepare our students to be engaged citizens,” MCC Interim President Sasan Poureetezadi said in a prepared statement. “One of the ways MCC’s Center for Community & Civic Engagement promotes excellence in teaching and learning is through encouragement of civic leadership, which includes active participation in local and national election processes.”

The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. Nearly 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016, the press release stated.