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Students help university to be designated ‘Voter Friendly Campus’

Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, a pair of national nonpartisan organizations, have designated Western Carolina University a “Voter Friendly Campus” for 2019-20.

WCU is among a select group of campuses around the country that participated and received the designation. The initiative held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encouraged their students to register and vote in the 2018 elections and in the coming years.

“To be ‘friendly’ denotes that an environment has adapted specifically for the benefit of something else,” said Lane Perry, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. “To these ends, as a campus, WCU has adapted and evolved to make voting and civic engagement writ large not only possible, but plausible. Meaning, while at WCU, it is not only possible, but plausible that a student will capture the civic spirit.”

WCU is one of 123 campuses to receive the designation, which included nine others from North Carolina. Those institutions represent a range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses.

Throughout 2018, campus representatives participated in training to develop, implement and report results for democratic engagement programs that encouraged their students to register and vote. Campuses were evaluated on their ability to complete a three-step process, which included writing a campus plan to engage student voters in fall of 2018, facilitating voter engagement efforts on their campus, and writing a final analysis on their efforts and future plans. The designation is valid through 2020.

“The ecosystem of voting and civic engagement is always evolving, and it is important for us as an institution and as educators to ensure that as our ecosystem evolves, so too do we,” Perry said. “Our commitment to being a nationally recognized Voter Friendly Campus and the subsequent designation serve as our pledge to fulfill the ideals of our democracy.”

For more information on Voter Friendly Campus, visit

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