“It’s our voice, our future, and our vote”

With less than a week to go before the 2022 election, the nonpartisan Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is pulling out all the stops to make sure college students around the country are registered to vote and have a plan to cast their ballots. I wanted to take a minute to send you a quick update on how that work is going.

Starting last year, our team renewed our efforts to institutionalize civic engagement at colleges and universities by working with administrators, faculty and campus organizations to create civic engagement action plans for their campus. We’ve also trained hundreds of student leaders and volunteers to run civic engagement drives on their campuses.

And that work is paying off. Our team is organizing at 100 campuses in 20 states, and so far, students leaders have:

  • Made nearly 38,000 peer-to-peer get out the vote (GOTV) contacts, over half of these reaching community college students
  • Reached more than 100,000 students with information and reminders on how, where, and when to vote
  • Helped more than 8,200 students register to vote, including 1,667 community college students

As Martha Plaehn, a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and PIRG student leader, told Inside Higher Ed, “A lot of people are interested in voting and interested in participating in the democratic process… but the lack of education [around how to vote], I think, is a big problem that college students across the country face.” It’s why our team has been laser-focused on educating as many students as possible, doing everything from making announcements during college classes to organizing engaging educational events on campus designed to draw attention to voting.

California Youth Voter Summit

Last month, I spoke at the 2022 California Youth Voter Summit, hosted by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. At the summit, I was able to share the best practices on how to recruit and develop student leaders to lead effective civic engagement drives. You can find a full video of the conference here!

On the ground at 100 campuses in 20 states

PIRG student leaders from Wayne State University and Michigan State University in Michigan attended the Michigan Vote Summit with leaders from all over the state working to help students get out the vote!

Wayne State University PIRG club president Sydney Greenway also presented to coalition partners at a Wisconsin Voices meeting, where she shared best practices for civic engagement organizations to work with students on campus.

PIRG student leaders at St. Petersburg College held a Vote Early Day event led by student leader Mia Newsom (middle) and campus organizer Sophia Pascente (right). (I’m on the left!)

PIRG organizer Gracie Coates was featured in an ABC news story for her work to help register voters at Austin Community College in Texas. “Our generation is the demographic with the lowest voter turnout…It has been surprising getting over 100 people registered in about five days,” Gracie said.

At Florida State University, PIRG students, led by PIRG club president Andres Cubillos (right), held a Vote Early Day event, complete with Founding Fathers Halloween costumes.

At the University of Massachusetts in Boston and Amherst, PIRG students introduced their peers to Vlad and Vincent the Vote Goat and helped dozens of students make a plan to vote.



Manny Rin
Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project

About The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project
PIRG New Voters Project, Inc. is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 4945(f) status. We work on 100 campuses across the country to activate the largest voting bloc in the country. Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, so we work to make sure every student has the opportunity to have their voice heard in our elections by building a culture of civic engagement on college campuses. We engage students, faculty, and administrators to build lasting systems of voter engagement for the long term.
Since 1984, our field-based, non-partisan effort helped to register over 2 million young people and make over 3 million Get out the Vote contacts reminding young people where, when, and how to vote. We have tested new field models to ensure we are running the most effective civic engagement program possible. One study of our program showed that 82% of the young people we helped to register leading up to the 2020 election turned out to vote, while 75% of the young people contacted through our peer-to-peer GOTV program turned out to vote. This compares to 68.5% of a representative sample of college students overall who were registered and voted in 2016.
About The Student PIRGs
Students have the right and the responsibility to shape the future we will inherit. Our program spans over 100 campuses in 22 states of which 35 campuses have self-funding programs, that provide the training, professional support and resources students need to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry and more. Students have been at the forefront of social change throughout history, from civil rights, to voting rights to protecting the environment. For almost 50 years we’ve helped our campus communities get organized, mobilized and energized so they can continue to be on the cutting edge of positive change. Every year, over 4,000 students gain hands-on experience in organizing and activism by volunteering with us to generate 150,000 grassroots actions.