Upping Voter Participation Can Result in Good Grades – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Upping Voter Participation Can Result in Good Grades

By registering and encouraging others to vote, students at HWS can raise their GPAs

(Sept. 15, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.– In a twist on a traditional grade-boosting maneuver, students in Professor Craig Rimmerman's political science classes at Hobart and William Smith Colleges can earn extra credit by participating in the “HWS Votes” campaign. Those who choose to work on the voter-registration project may write a paper on their experience. Their participation and report take the place of the lowest grade they get on the three projects/assignments given in the class.

Jane Erickson, a William Smith sophomore from Castle Rock, Colo., will crank the assignment up a notch–she is doing an independent study with Professor Rimmerman. The political science major is leading campus voter registration efforts, coordinated by the Public Service Office, and will author a paper upon completion of the election.

The nonpartisan “HWS Votes” group has already begun voter registration on campus. Their efforts will continue through October, with tables staffed by students encouraging their classmates to register or obtain absentee ballots from their hometowns. Working with the New York State League of Women Voters, and in conjunction with the Colleges' Day of Service, teams of students will disseminate fliers with information about the races and candidates, as well as other paperwork on voting regulations.

In addition, a campus-wide door-to-door campaign will be initiated, and students will gather to view the presidential and the vice presidential debates, with Rimmerman and Philosophy Professor Steven Lee hosting follow-up discussions after each. Plans are also under way to host an election night party on campus for both Democrats and Republicans.

“As U.S. citizens, it is our fundamental right to vote,” says Erickson. “It is imperative that students be able to utilize this right, and also have the recourse to make an educated and informed choice on election day.”

More information on the effort can be found at http://www.hws.edu/studentlife/publicservice/vote.asp

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