Who are the democracy fellows?

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Who are the democracy fellows?

Campus Vote Project (CVP) — Brought forth by the non-partisan, Fair Elections center– is a non-partisan nationwide organization that strives toward protecting our right to vote and works in conjunction with the Democracy Fellows. The program currently works with 280 colleges and universities referred to as Voter Friendly Campuses in over 41 states. Alexis Crosby is the Ohio State Coordinator for the Campus Vote Project. Alexis, who’s been a part of Campus Vote Project since 2020, stated that the program is “in response to what college campuses have told [CVP] that they need.” Crosby herself is passionate in democracy because “it is the way that we build community in our country and make sure that people are taken care of regardless…of how much money they have in their bank account, what their parents did, what their grandparents did, or what they are doing professionally or educationally or economically.” She goes on to say that democracy is “an equalizer.”

Tri-C government relations runs the program at the College, working with students, faculty and staff to support the Fellows work in voter education and increased civic engagement. Tri-C has five democracy fellows currently working with CVP: Paige Ray, Kenzie Brown, Edith Cabrera, Judy Nwoguh, and Bri Easterling. According to the Campus Vote Project’s website, “historically, young adults have voted at lower rates than older cohorts” and discusses how younger voters are less likely to be kept up to date on information in regard to the voting process and politics. Voting is an essential piece of democratic America’s governing system, so the Democracy fellows’ contributions to voter education are vital.

Paige Ray, Democracy Fellow scholar, states that “the great thing about democracy is that it’s a process full of many parts. Voting is kind of like the icing on the cake, but there are so many ingredients that go into it.”

This group of students has taken long strides to spread the message of democracy and create fun and engaging activities for students to take part in as well. One of the Democracy Fellows’ past events was the Art of Voting competition hosted in June of this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 26th amendment. The amendment lowered the voting age to 18. Paige Ray, who headed the effort, encouraged students, staff, and alumni to express what voting means to them through various art forms, such as music, spoken word, drawing, or photography. Awards were given out to Tri-C alumnus Charese Harrison and Kyle Ray.

The Democracy Fellows work hard to create accessible ways for students to find credible voting information and learn how to navigate the democratic process. Their work is invaluable to empowering students. As Paige Ray suggests, “It may be intimidating but for anyone starting out I’d say don’t get overwhelmed and try to incorporate what you believe into your work!”

The Democracy Fellows program at Tri-C is run through the college’s office of government relations. If you would like to be part of the fifth cohort of Democracy Fellows for calendar year 2022, please contact Katharine.montgomery@tri-c.edu.

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