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UM Named a Voter-Friendly University

By Clara Turnage

University of Mississippi

Students register to vote at a resource fair in the Ole Miss Student Union. The University of Mississippi has been named a voter-friendly campus for its dedication to promoting voter education and civic engagement. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The University of Mississippi has been named a “voter-friendly campus” by the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote project. 

The Campus Vote Project, in coordination with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, recognizes institutions that have dedicated effort to civic education and voter education on campus. Ole Miss is one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia to receive this designation. 

William Teer, assistant director of student leadership in the Center for Community Engagement, said all the credit goes to students. 

“This is student-run from the bottom to the top,” Teer said. “When I think about what our UM voter ambassadors have done, I am just amazed.” 

Over the past year, the ambassadors have conducted voter registration drives and on-campus workshops for civic education and have worked to make voting on campus easier, he said. 

Recently, students worked with Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Jeff Busby to verify the Center for Community Engagement as an address for on-campus student voters. 

Previously, students who live on campus had to register for a post office box if they wanted to vote because residence halls and Greek houses cannot be used in voter registration. Now, those students can list the Center for Community Engagement as their mailing address when registering to vote in Lafayette County. 

“That’s what these students are doing,” Teer said. “They’re finding obstacles to voting and creating solutions.” 

Students are also using their voices to highlight lessons from the past, such as this year’s Freedom Now! Panel on James Meredith’s March Against Fear, said Castel Sweet, the center’s director. 

“Every spring semester, our students are coming up with different ways to involve people in civic education and engagement,” Sweet said. “Civic engagement is a way for people to have a say in what their community looks like, and it’s so important to know you have that tool and how to use that tool in an informed way to change you community.” 

For more information about UM Votes, which is hiring for two paid student positions, contact umvotes@olemiss.edu and wteer1@olemiss.edu.

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