By Matt Anderson, ’14, MS ’15 In advance of the 2014 midterm elections, Stanford in Government launched its largest grassroots political engagement effort to date. Forget the first day of class; the SIG board met freshmen on the first day of New Student Orientation to register the new students to vote. SIG collaborated with TurboVote, the Haas Center for Public Service, the Office of the Registrar, the Department of Residential Education, the Student Services Center, and the Vice Provosts for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs to help students make sure they were registered in time to vote in November.
SIG Director of Communications Libby Scholz, ’17, interned for Rock the Vote before helping coordinate voter registration in the fall. “I’m from Wisconsin, where you can register and vote on the same day,” she said. “Registration isn’t as simple in other parts of the country, but I thought Stanford in Government should do its part to make it easier here.” SIG and its partners registered 817 voters, a feat that was especially remarkable given 2014 was not a presidential election year.
In addition to promoting registration through social media and email updates, SIG members canvassed dining halls and offered registration at their fall events. SIG’s Public Policy Forum also hosted an informational event about some of the closest races in 2014. The event, modeled after speed dating, was called “Candi-Dates.” The Stanford Daily published a feature story about SIG after the event.
During winter quarter, SIG continued to emphasize political awareness, hosting a movie screening encouraging frank political discussion. Julie Winokour, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, screened “Bring It to the Table” for the Stanford community. Winokour has travelled around the country to sit down with Americans of diverse backgrounds and talk candidly about their political beliefs. Winokour brought her table with her, and four students joined the director to talk about their own political views. The Stanford Daily also covered that event.
SIG will continue to build a culture of political awareness on campus for years to come. In fact, students can still register to vote at stanford.turbovote.org.