Ithaca College Encourages Student Body Voting

By Marisa Thomas ’22, October 29, 2020
Student organizations and departments hold events to communicate importance of voting.

With the presidential election rapidly approaching, Ithaca College has been hosting events and initiatives discussing the importance of voting and to encourage students to vote. 

One such initiative is the Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign, which is a series of programs and events focused on engaging students in the political process. One program is IC Votes, a partnership between the Center for Civic Engagement and Student Governance Council (SGC), aimed at increasing voting among IC’s student body.  

The SGC worked together with student organizations IC Republicans and IC Democrats to create one cohesive way to spread the word on voting and get resources out to students. Using social media, they’re trying to keep students informed of important dates, depending on if they want to vote in person, by mail, or absentee ballot. IC Votes has also held watch parties for the presidential and vice-presidential debates. 

“It’s a challenge this year. We’re trying our best to reach out to the student body virtually,” said Michael Deviney ’20, president of IC Republicans. “It’s very important to inform students on dates and to let them know that their vote counts.” 

Lucy Calderon ‘23, president of the IC Democrats, added, “What’s the point of doing a bunch of little voting initiatives when you can do one together? Because it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you believe in. Just that you do your civic duty and make your voice heard.”  

There is a student organization voting competition where organizations indicate how many of their members are registered to vote and then get a sticker to post on social media that says “I Voted.”  

“IC votes cannot reach every single IC student, so we are putting the responsibility on every single IC organization to make sure their members are registered,” Calderon said.   

In addition to these initiatives, on Oct. 1, the college held a virtual panel titled IC Community Conversations: Voter Education. Sponsored by the Division of Philanthropy and Engagement and the Ithaca College Partnership Pathways group, the panel consisted of SGC president Conner Shea ‘21; Irene Aurora Flores, staff attorney for Legal Assistance of Western New York; James Felton, vice president for inclusive excellence at The College of New Jersey; and Jeff Furman, founder of Rejoice the Vote, an organization dedicated to empowering youth and encouraging high voter turnouts.  

Much of the discussion focused on issues surrounding voting for marginalized people and the younger generation, as well as the importance of being educated on what one votes on.  

“Making this a high priority thing, really taking the time to educate yourself and talk with your friends and family, I think that’s really, really important when it comes to registration and voting,” Shea said. “I know for a fact that this election will impact many friends and family. We need to be thinking about our community, our IC community, our town of Ithaca community, and our home communities.”  

The panel went on to address specific logistics to this unique year, civic education, voting regarding disenfranchised communities and resources for students. Moderator David Harker, director of the college’s Center for Civic Engagement, emphasized that the center is available to answer any questions or offer any help students might need. 

“I want this to be a jumping off point for a lot of these discussions to please utilize the resources that IC is really consciously putting together this year, knowing that it’s a very important election,” he said. 

Post-Election Resources

We understand that the days surrounding an election can be very taxing both physically and especially mentally. Please visit some of these resources Ithaca College is offering to students to provide support during this uncertain time.

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life is offering:

  • A Post-Election Reflection Space
  • Community Care Office Hours
  • Tools to Bridge the Divide
  • The Untangle Podcast

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 3-3:45 p.m., the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services will offer a special support group, Coping with Current Events.