FIU designated a voter-friendly campus for facilitating students’ civic engagement
Following an elections season that saw tremendous youth voter turnout nationwide, FIU has been designated a voter-friendly campus by the Campus Vote Project and NASPA in recognition of its institutionwide efforts to encourage students to head to the polls and make their voices heard.
The selection process examined written plans put in place by colleges and universities during the 2022 election season to foster students’ lifelong civic engagement by educating them on the political process, registering to vote and the importance of casting a vote – even in a non-presidential election year.
At FIU, the effort is spearheaded by the Civic Engagement Committee, which comprises faculty and administration across disciplines. The committee is responsible for launching Vote.FIU.edu, an online repository for information on voting in Florida. The website shares links to local elections schedules, voter registration information, mail-in ballot information, early voting deadlines and more.
The committee also curated an array of civic literacy and engagement programming that took place across the university’s many academic and business units. In 2022, many of these events were launched by the Maurice A. Ferré Institute for Civic Leadership in partnership with external organizations, the Center for Leadership and Service and the Office of Global Learning Initiatives.
“One of the most important ways young people in particular can have their voices heard is by voting,” said Agatha Caraballo, director of the Ferré Institute and a member of the Civic Engagement Committee.“When students vote, they are exercising their right to participate in our democracy and shaping the future of our country. By encouraging students to vote, we empower them to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.”
Together with Engage Miami, the Ferré Institute hosted fall voter registration drives, launched a series of voter education videos, led the “Roar to the Polls” early voting event and more. The institute also hosted a panel on civic engagement among those with Hispanic heritage and another on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as student events such as the “Bagel and Ballots” and National Voter Registration Day activations (in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County and the FIU Center for Leadership and Service) and promoted opportunities for students to volunteer as poll workers with the Miami-Dade County elections office.
Additionally, the Center for Leadership and Service hosted a Campus Voter Project Fellow in the Fall 2022 semester. The Office of Global Learning Initiatives held “Tuesday Times Roundtable” discussions on civic literacy and organizing political youth. Members of the 2022 Millennium Fellows cohort launched trainings to educate students on voter rights, civic engagement and the roles of local, state and national government.
FIU’s dedication to civic engagement extends far beyond the 2022 election season. The university is regularly designated an early voting location for those who are registered in Miami-Dade County. Additionally, academic units and student clubs frequently host “marches to the polls” during the early voting period.
Earlier this month, the Office of Social Justice and Inclusion and Ferré Institute hosted a discussion with students titled “Your Vote Is Your Voice.” This spring, the Ferré Institute also hosted the “Generation Civics” series with the nonprofit Accountable Impact in which students had the opportunity to meet local representatives such as City of Doral Councilwoman Digna Cabral and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins.
“At FIU, we want to encourage and support students to become engaged citizens who can make informed decisions and positively impact their communities,” Caraballo said. “We emphasize civic engagement to prepare our students to be leaders in their fields and society.”
For more information on FIU’s continued efforts to engage students in the political process and to learn about upcoming events, visit Vote.FIU.edu.