With just weeks to go until Election Day, a task force at St. Thomas is working hard to connect students, faculty and staff to civic and community engagement opportunities.

The Civic Engagement, Voter Education and Advocacy Task Force (CEVEA), composed of 42 members representing students, faculty and staff, is promoting nonpartisan voter engagement and issues advocacy. The task force’s initiative includes three areas: Tommies Count (census information), Tommies Vote (election details) and Tommies Advocate (insights on connecting with elected officials and through public voice).

Numerous campuswide events will be taking place next week to promote civic engagement, voter education and advocacy efforts.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and Ramsey County Elections Administrator will be hosting a “Voting 101 Panel” via Zoom exclusively for the St. Thomas community on Sept. 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. President Julie Sullivan will kick off the panel by introducing Simon and Hunt.

According to a Star Tribune article, Simon called one of “his most important responsibilities” empowering young voters. “No metric is more important to the future of our state than the participation of young people in our political process,” he said.

Manuela Hill-Muñoz of the Department of Student Affairs and the Center for Common Good is a CEVEA member and a staunch advocate for student civic engagement. “The young vote has the ability to impact the election,” said Muñoz. “We know that the student voice and vote matters.”

Minnesota is one of 20 states where youth voter registration has grown more than 12% over the last presidential election.

In addition to the “Voting 101 Panel,” CEVEA will host another online event, “Are Minnesota Elected Officials Fighting for Justice?” on Sept. 24 from noon-1:15 p.m. At this panel, Distinguished University Chair, Professor and Founding Director of the Racial Justice Initiative Dr. Yohuru Williams will host a conversation with some Minnesota elected officials.

On Sept. 22 – National Voter Registration Day – CEVEA student members will be positioned throughout the St. Paul campus to guide students through the process of registering to vote. CEVEA members will be distributing a limited number of free “VOTE” face masks to promote safe voting practices.

From now through the Nov. 3 election, CEVEA is focused on encouraging St. Thomas students to participate, register and vote in order to advance the common good.

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