The voter registration drive organized by Hobart and William Smith was presented at a national conference
(Jan. 21, 2005) GENEVA, N.Y.–William Smith College sophomore Jane Erickson of Castle Rock, Colo., and Hobart and William Smith Colleges Director of Public Service Averell Bauder joined forces this fall to recruit fellow volunteers who ultimately registered 300 people to vote. Their program called HWS Votes! was presented at a roundtable workshop titled “HWS Votes: Mobilizing Your Campus for a Voter Registration and Education Drive” at the Practitioners' Conference on Civic Education held Jan. 13-15, in New Orleans, La.
Working with Bauder, Erickson organized of the Colleges' fall new voter registration and education efforts as part of an independent study with Professor of Political Science Craig Rimmerman. Mobilizing nearly 100 volunteers from service-learning classes, political clubs such as the College Democrats and College Republicans and other student volunteers, she led the effort to register approximately 300 new student voters. She also organized faculty and student forums to watch and discuss the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates; created Web pages with links to a number of resources concerning voter registration; delivered election information from the League of Women Voters to nearly 4,000 households in the City of Geneva; and hosted an all-campus Election Night Returns Party that was the featured live-remote on the campus' NPR affiliate, WEOS-FM.
Bauder acknowledged Erickson's organizational skills and extensive work on the project.
“We really built a model here at the Colleges for how to do a campus voter registration and education campaign right. We are delighted that the conference chose us to present and that we are going to have the chance to tell other people about our experience,” said Bauder, who is also a member of the Hobart Class of 1981.
HWS Votes! is just one example of the Colleges' commitment to service and civic engagement; more than 70 percent of the student body is involved in some type of community service work. The public service office is housed in the Salisbury Center at Trinity Hall.