Gustavus Lauded for Highly Successful Voter Action Plan

Through the work of many civic-minded Gusties, student voter turnout is the highest in recent College history.
Posted on January 7th, 2022 by

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge has named Gustavus Adolphus College the 2021 MIAC Votes Award Winner for Best Action Plan, which resulted in a record-breaking 84% of Gusties casting their ballots in the 2020 election.

This award recognizes the College’s efforts to build a campuswide, nonpartisan action plan, developed by the Voter Education Committee and carried out by the Voter Engagement Team,  that promotes participation in our democracy.

“I was really happy for the students when I heard that Gustavus had received this award,” said Megan Ruble, a lead administrator on the committee. “They worked so hard on the Voter Engagement Plan, and they’re so passionate about it.”

Composed of students, faculty, and administrators, the committee set aggressive goals for the 2020 election cycle, including an 85 percent registration rate and 80 percent voter turnout. Surpassing every one of their voter participation goals required several months of concentrated effort, from revamping the Gustavus Voter Engagement website to employing four student Voter Ambassadors. 

These ambassadors were charged with brainstorming solutions to challenges from COVID-19, providing voter resources, connecting with national college voting initiatives, and engaging students from populations that are underrepresented in the voting process. The efforts from these students, who come from diverse backgrounds themselves, resulted in voter turnout for Black and Asian populations growing by 12 and 30 percent in 2020 respectively. 

Since the committee was created in 2016, voter participation among Gustavus students overall has grown by 20 percent. Earlier in 2021, Gustavus was the only liberal arts college in Minnesota to be named a “Voter Friendly Campus” by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

The committee hopes that their work will leave an impact beyond the 2020 election, with long-term goals to connect voter registration to New Student Orientation and to encourage faculty to include civic engagement in their curriculum. 

“Gusties are engaged in their community, and we were excited to help students learn about candidates, fill out their registration, and cast their ballots during a unique election cycle,” said senior statistics and political science major Ben Menke ’22, who served on the committee. “Receiving this award is a true honor, and it is a hopeful sign that Gustavus Adolphus College will continue to be a leader in democratic engagement.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


One Comment

  1. Ted Kunze (‘76) says:

    Great to hear about the success of this effort—and of its recognition!