Winona State University has received the designation of 2017-18 Voter-Friendly Campus based on its efforts to engage and educate student voters in fall 2016. WSU is the only campus in the State of Minnesota to receive this designation.

Efforts by the campus to register voters in fall 2016 also resulted in WSU coming in first place among all four-year Minnesota State institutions in the 2016 Minnesota College Ballot Bowl. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon will recognize WSU on Friday, March 24 for its efforts in registering 1,861 of its students, or 24 percent of its student body.

“With this recognition, WSU remains a leader in civic engagement to educate and empower students as citizens with lifelong, sustainable civic skills,” said Kara Lindaman, director of WSU’s American Democracy Project. “This award highlights that civic engagement is indeed a recognized and valued part of our campus culture.”

During the 2016 election season, WSU’s American Democracy Project spearheaded a plan to communicate the importance of civic engagement and voting, and to register student voters. Numerous student groups and over 80 faculty, staff and students worked together to host events and share information with the campus community. These efforts resulted in the registration of an estimated 24 percent of WSU’s student population—the most student voters registered on any campus in the Minnesota State system as well as enough to earn WSU ninth place nationally in the National Voter Registration Day competition.

“It is truly an honor to receive this distinction as an inaugural awardee surrounded by highly respected institutions,” said Lindaman. “As a Voter Friendly Campus, Winona State University realizes its civic mission of a ‘Community of Learners Improving the World.’”

WSU is one of 83 campuses in 23 states named a Voter-Friendly Campus. The designation is valid through December 2018.

The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. The initiative is led by national nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

For more information, contact Kara Lindaman at klindaman@winona.edu.

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Samantha Stetzer

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