SSN Commentary

Better Together: Partnering Student Affairs and Academic Affairs in Advancing Nonpartisan College Student Voter Engagement Efforts

Policy field

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American University

Originally published as "Better Together: Partnering Student Affairs And Academic Affairs In Advancing Nonpartisan College Student Voter Engagement Efforts," Forbes, June 28, 2022.

Cheese and crackers. Peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Bananas and chocolate. Chocolate and... well, most stuff! Some things are just better together!

At Clemson University, we forged a partnership – Clemson Votes – across student affairs and academic affairs four years ago as we first started strategizing on improving student voter and democratic engagement. The partnership is still going strong as we revise our campus action plan for the 2022 midterms, propagate the use of our NSLVE data, and help co-lead our cross-institutional DemocrACCy challenge and learning community. We realize that different types of organizations enter the voting space with unique strengths and challenges. Some may have endowments or centers or other institutional commitments to advance democracy while others do not. Regardless of where an institution starts, cultivating and sustaining partnerships across student and academic life can help institutionalize the efforts and support broad-based strategies.