…great things happen!

“Hi Matt, I was just wondering where we were on the leaderboard. Are we still one of the top 10 schools?” read an email from Dominican University Professor, Alison Howard.

Dominican University on National Voter Registration Day

Our allies at small colleges often tell us that they don’t have many centralized processes to integrate with TurboVote, making it more of a challenge to sign up all of their students. But Dominican University in California has approached the challenges of small-scale organizing with an open mind and focused on innovative solutions that compliment the peer-to-peer relationships, close faculty ties, and intimate campus life that define Dominican. By bringing together a network of faculty and staff, Dominican set out to prepare both its incoming freshman and returning classes with everything they’d need to vote—and with nearly 15% of their student body signed up, it’s safe to say they are well on their way.

As a political science professor, Alison Howard is naturally attracted to issues of civic engagement. To reach beyond her own small department, Alison spread the word at every opportunity—including the Registrar’s Office, where students can now access a link to the Dominican TurboVote site when searching for classes or other information. Alison also saw the advantage of Dominican’s small classroom sizes, and she organized fellow faculty members to direct THEIR students to sign up as well. By speaking with her counterparts in other departments, the communications office and at several campus retreats, Professor Howard energized the campus from top to bottom.

Dominican also recognized the power of competition, both internal and external, to drive results.

Internally, Alison reached out to the Resident Hall Association to run a contest between campus dorms to register the most students, complete with pizza incentives for the winners. Alison says that many of the student advisors have done tabling events and even included reminders in weekly floor meetings to make sure their residents remain on top of bringing the bacon (and other toppings) home.

When focusing beyond its borders, the Dominican team kept an eye on the weekly TurboVote school-by-school leaderboard update. When Professor Howard noted that Dominican’s sign-ups weren’t keeping pace with the rest of the Top 10 institutions, she sent an all-campus email to announce it. Dominican University signed up 50 new students—on a Friday afternoon—soon after.

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