This summer, we’re particularly interested in having Bonners assume a leadership role in helping their 20 million fellow students participate in the Fall elections. Roughly four million fewer students voted in 2010 than 2008, and we think Bonners can play a key role in reversing that trend. You’d do this by interning with the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP), a non-partisan effort that ran in 14 states in 2008, working with over 500 campuses with a combined enrollment of nearly 3 million undergraduates. CEEP works primarily through the state offices of the key higher education service learning organization Campus Compact, so we’re encouraging Bonners to intern with these offices, either in your own state, or in another state you’d like to work with, according to the list below. The local Compacts have strong ongoing relationships with colleges and universities in their states. They’ll build on these relationships to help the schools use their extensive resources to assist their students in registering to vote, getting educated on the issues, volunteering in the campaigns, and showing up at the polls. Last round, CEEP pulled together a wealth of useful practical suggestions, drawn from campuses throughout the country, which significantly increased the participation of students as voters and volunteers.
Supervised by the staff of whatever state Compact you’d be interning with, and coached by CEEP’s national staff (including CEEP founder and Soul of a Citizen author Paul Loeb), you’ll reach out to your Compact’s contacts at colleges and universities state-wide, and help them engage their students. You’ll use the lists of effective engagement approaches that CEEP will provide as an opportunity to reach out to the schools, and as examples of what they can do (Here is a sample list) CEEP created for activities schools could undertake this Spring). You’ll want to see what efforts are already going on, which offices are already involved, and which need to be engaged. You’ll want to identify gaps in current efforts, share relevant resources, and help find a key individual or group to get things going at each school. You’ll then brainstorm with them on how they can build a plan to enlist the support they’ll need and assemble a broad enough and energetic enough team to be able to contact all key departments and offices. And you’ll keep following up to ensure the schools’ election-engagement efforts keep moving ahead.
The Campus Elections Engagement Project is looking for passionately engaged students who are looking to foster student electoral involvement nation-wide. If you apply and are accepted for summer internships with the participating state Compacts and other organizations, you’ll work on engaging the schools in their states, working with faculty, administrators, and staff to help them involve their students in every possible way. You’ll be trained and supported by the local Compact staff and the national CEEP staff. But you’ll need initiative, persistence, and professionalism, and an ability to be respectful but not intimidated if you end up talking with people in a high position at a given school.
If you’re interested in working on this project for the summer, and then perhaps from your school for your required Fall service hours, you can apply to any of the twenty-seven participating Campus Compact networks, from the list found below. We encourage you to consider opportunities not just in your own state, but also in other states that are interested.
Because these projects involve voter registration, Bonners receiving Americorps or other Corporation for National and Community Service funding cannot participate, so some Bonner Leaders will be ineligible.