June 25, 2022

Studies, Service Secure Civic Internship for Philosophy Major

Kate McDaid came to the University of Mary Washington to make a difference. Her classmates would show her the way. Inspired by her fellow students’ strong sense of service, McDaid followed suit. The UMW junior found purpose by getting involved – and secured an internship with a nonprofit that encourages civic engagement among students. Now, […]

Ballot-topia: UMW Students Praised for Voter Participation

Junior philosophy major and Campus Vote Project Fellow Kate McDaid (front, left) works with UMW Votes to help freshman Emma Goehner prepare to head to the polls. Seventy-nine percent of UMW students (more than the national average) cast their ballots in the last election. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Junior philosophy major and Campus Vote Project Fellow Kate McDaid (front, left) works with UMW Votes to help freshman Emma Goehner prepare to head to the polls. Seventy-nine percent of UMW students (more than the national average) cast their ballots in the last election. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Wearing a white slicker and black rain boots, University of Mary Washington senior Caroline Mowdy approached a tent set up outside George Washington Hall. She needed a ride to the polls. Soon, she was in psychology major Christian Lyman’s blue Toyota Scion and on the way to her voting site, Dorothy Hart Community Center in Fredericksburg.

“As an environmental sustainability major, protections and regulations are important to me,” Mowdy said. “In almost every class I’ve been in, I’ve learned that it all comes back to politics.”

With key Virginia appointments at stake, UMW students like Mowdy braved today’s cool, drizzly weather to get to the polls. It’s the Mary Washington way. Seventy-nine percent of UMW students – more than the national average – cast ballots in the last election, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) report, released last week. Today, UMW Votes, a group that encourages engaged citizenship, lined up a cavalcade of cars, vans and even a trolley to transport students to polling sites and make sure their voices were heard.

“It’s really important, no matter who they vote for,” said sophomore historic preservation major Vivian Reinhardt, who cast her absentee ballot weeks ago but worked with UMW Votes to help those who’d waited until Election Day. “We need more turnout from every age and demographic possible.” Read more.

UMW To Host Public Debate for 88th District House of Delegates Seat

The University of Mary Washington will host a public political debate between candidates for Virginia’s 88th District House of Delegates seat on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. Democrat Kecia Evans, Republican Phillip Scott and Libertarian Tim Lewis will face off live via Zoom, with public viewing accessible through YouTube. Viewers may submit questions for consideration […]

Voter Registration Day Event Gives UMW Students a Voice

Callie Jordan remembers everything about her first election at age 18 – the poll workers excitedly handing her a ballot, penciling in the little circles to mark her choices and getting an American flag sticker to show the world that she had voted. But what she remembers most is feeling empowered. “I felt valued by […]

UMW Students Earn Voter Participation Award

Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees, A.J. Robinson, Stephanie Turcios and Amber Brown show off UMW’s Platinum Seal award at the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees, A.J. Robinson, Stephanie Turcios and Amber Brown show off UMW’s Platinum Seal award at the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

On the heels of last week’s statewide elections, UMW received the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Platinum Seal for schools with a student voter participation rate above 50 percent. Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees accepted the award Tuesday with students at a ceremony held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“I’m proud of our students but not surprised,” said President Troy Paino. “This national recognition reflects just one aspect of the longstanding commitment of Mary Washington’s faculty, staff and students to civic engagement.”

Since its 2016 launch, the challenge, a national initiative, has recognized and supported institutions of higher education in their efforts to achieve full student voter participation, promote an informed electorate and make civic engagement a core value on their campuses. To date, over 6.2 million students and more than 560 colleges and universities have taken the challenge. Read more. 

UMW Students Earn Voter Participation Award

On the heels of last week’s statewide elections, UMW received the 2019 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Platinum Seal for schools with a student voter participation rate above 50 percent. Center for Community Engagement Associate Director Sarah Dewees accepted the award today with students at a ceremony held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “I’m […]

Mary Washington Casts Vote for Participation on Election Day

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

When voters from across Virginia voice their opinions at the polls tomorrow, UMW students will be among them. That’s thanks in part to rides being offered all day to students who wish to cast ballots.

“Civic engagement isn’t just an idea at Mary Washington,” said Sarah Dewees, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which will provide rides, along with UMW Votes, Citizens for Democracy and other campus groups. “It’s a way of life.”

With a voting rate higher than the national average – and lots of planning and energy – UMW students have worked all year to keep it that way, from prepping voters for trips to the polls to establishing a “2020 Day on Democracy,” allowing classes to be cancelled on Election Day next year.

“When individuals miss their opportunity to vote, they miss their chance to have their voices heard,” said UMW Voting Ambassador Kayli Ottomanelli, a junior who cited issues that matter to undergrads, like tuition rates and student loan debt. “When younger generations don’t turn out to vote, we’re allowing older generations to decide on these significant matters for us.” Read more.