SUU Receives Silver Seal for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement

Nov 19, 2019

2 min

Mary  Bennett

Presented by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Southern Utah University has been honored with a silver seal for achieving a student voting rate of 35.9% in the 2018 midterm elections. 


“The Leavitt Center is proud to receive this national recognition on behalf of SUU,” said Mary Bennett, director of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service at SUU. “We will continue our efforts to inspire faculty, staff, and students to participate in the 2020 election. We are committed to reduce voter apathy, increase engagement, and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the country’s, and the world’s, most pressing challenges.”


Overall student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent 2018 midterm election. And according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%. At SUU, the voter rate increased by 18.7 points between 2014 and 2018. 


Led by Bennett, the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service works to increase the civic engagement of students at SUU. Through an action plan to increase civic engagement, the Leavitt Center is working to increase voter turnout rates. The first long-term goal of the Leavitt Center is to increase voter turnout by 10% in the 2020 election. 


Voter turnout numbers are considerably higher during the national elections, so in 2018 the focus was to increase voter education and engagement with state and local elections. To support this goal, the Leavitt Center hosts at least two state or local candidates each semester and has at least one event that covers local politics. 


“We are excited to honor SUU with an ALL IN Challenge silver seal,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “Institutions like SUU are changing the culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”


The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.


Bennett’s professional experience spans over 25 years in a range of Washington, DC institutions including the US House of Representatives, and the US Senate. She is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit her profile.



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Mary  Bennett

Mary Bennett

Director of the Micheal O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service

Specializing in U.S. campaigns and elections, government relations, and public policy and advocacy

Utah Political CandidatesUtah Legislative BodyPolitical CommunicationCongressional CampaignsRegulatory Policy for Financial Industries

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