Educating Morally Responsible Leaders to Vote

The Civic Engagement, Voter Education and Advocacy Task Force (CEVEA) has been hard at work this past week hosting events for National Voter Education Week at the University of St. Thomas.  The task force focuses on ensuring college students become educated about voting so that they can build better habits for later elections to get out to the polls and vote. CEVEA partners with students who work on promoting campuswide civic engagement for the common good.

Kate Ostaffe, a senior double majoring in marketing and business communications, has been a part of the team since 2020. “It’s always so exciting to help spread the word about voter registration and help people learn more about why they should vote,” she said. “We [are] able to answer a lot of questions from students and help them become registered and educated voters.”

CEVEA’s goal this year is to get a minimum of 85% of St. Thomas students to vote. Some events to promote voting that have been held this past week have included informational sessions where students can learn more about the voting process and an informal chat with Professor Tim Lynch educating students on the 101 or basics of elections. CEVEA hosted a voter education panel featuring Secretary of State Steve Simon as their guest speaker with Skye Schultz, one of the student leaders in the task force.

Simon explained to students, “Your ballot is not spoiled if you vote in three races and not the rest; vote for the ones that you know.” Students have also been given the opportunity to participate in a polling place simulation, where CEVEA set up a mock polling location with stations and mock ballots.

CEVEA also has been reaching out to the representatives of campus clubs in hopes of collaborating with them so students can learn more about the candidates running.

Junior Cassandra Hamilton, who is majoring in data analytics and double minoring in economics and philosophy, said that the event was “a really good opportunity for me to be able to come in and talk with other people who have similar mindsets of wanting to be involved, or at least thinking about the bigger issues that we may have.”

CEVEA will be hosting several more events in October leading up to Election Day. Members are looking forward to the Donut Forget to Vote food truck, which is always a popular event on campus. During this event, CEVEA hopes they can get as many students registered and prepared to vote as possible. As they wrap up the season, they hope that their influence leaves a lasting impact on students and encourages them to be more civically engaged.