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Colleges Competing in Pack the Polls’ Civic Education Challenge

Hands typing on a laptop covered in stickers related to voting

NC State achieved the highest voter registration in the Atlantic Coast Conference and more than 80 percent voter participation in the 2020 presidential election. This fall, the Pack the Polls Coalition is hoping to carry that momentum into the 2022 midterm elections (Nov. 8) with an exciting new challenge to encourage participation in the democratic process.

Pack the Polls has partnered with the nonpartisan nonprofit YouCanVote for the Civic Education Challenge, which encourages students in colleges across NC State University to pledge to be civically engaged this election season and beyond. The college with the highest participation will win a pizza party open to all students as well as its dean and faculty. 

Paola Sztajn, dean of the College of Education, is leading the effort.

“The idea of a Civic Engagement Challenge first came up in a conversation with my colleagues Paula McAvoy and Christy Bird, who organize a great program called Dinner with Democracy,” Sztajn said. “We were talking about the importance of civic education and making sure all our students learn to participate in democratic dialogue and processes. When the idea matured into a partnership with Pack the Polls and the Student Leadership and Engagement team, I was even more excited. Growing up during the dictatorship in Brazil, where we fought for the right to vote, I am appreciative of the great non-partisan work Pack the Polls does. I am thankful other deans also saw the importance of this initiative and joined the challenge.”

To support the Civic Education Challenge, Student Leadership and Engagement and the College of Education have also partnered together to expand the Dining with Democracy program that guides students through facilitated, roundtable activities that will allow them to do something fairly rare in today’s political culture: engage in an open discussion about our differences.

Students who would like to get involved in civic education and become Pack the Polls ambassadors can learn more and apply here.

About Pack the Polls

Founded in 2016, Pack the Polls is a campus-wide coalition on voter engagement and education. The Pack the Polls coalition has three main missions:

  • Foster a coordinated impact by bringing together organizations, faculty, students, and staff from across the university and greater community that share similar goals of activating students to become civically engaged in upcoming elections.
  • Provide civic engagement education, activities, and centralized information to the NC State community.
  • Increase voter registration and election turnout using creative engagement tactics.

This post was originally published in DASA.