A red carpet, a step-and-repeat, “Spartans Vote” stickers and more
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Election Day, The University of Tampa will host a number of activities to encourage voting and political engagement.
- On campus, in the Vaughn Courtyard (behind the Vaughn Center), there will be a giant red carpet placed outside, pointing student voters toward the brand-new (and much closer) Election Day polling place across the street at First Baptist Church (302 W. Kennedy Blvd.).
- There will be music and a step-and-repeat, so students can take photos in front of it.
- Special “Spartans Vote” stickers will be provided to voters by masked volunteers at a table in the courtyard.
- Ten signs saying “Spartans Vote” are already placed around campus to remind students to vote, since they can vote early right now at locations such as Amalie Arena and the Fred B. Karl County Center, both within a mile of campus.
Since September, students have been encouraged to follow the Instagram account @utampavotes for voting information. It has gained nearly 300 followers to date. Over the past several weeks, students have been engaging in voting quizzes, direct messaging the account with voting questions and sharing voting-related photos and videos.
Media is welcome to cover the Election Day event. Photos are available upon request of: the @utampavotes Instagram logo, photos of students (and President Ron Vaughn and his wife) with “I voted” stickers and the Spartans Vote signs that are currently on campus. Please contact the Office of Public Information with any questions.
This nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort — the largest-ever in UT’s history — is due to a collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs that launched this spring called the ALL IN Democracy Challenge coalition. The group, which is part of a nationwide initiative, is co-led by Mary Anderson, professor of political science, and Ian McGinnity, director of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, and includes members from all parts of both the UT community and the Tampa community (students, staff, faculty, alumni and members of the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office). The group’s goal is to increase the student voting rate by at least 10%.
Other aspects of the pandemic-friendly campaign have included: debate-watch parties that were organized via Zoom; a guest speaker from the local Athena Society who gave a talk to students via Zoom to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage; voter registration tables on campus that were staffed with masked volunteers; emails and brochures with voting information that were sent widely to the entire campus community.
There’s also a newly created role in UT’s Student Government organization called the Supervisor of Elections. Juliana Fray ’21, the second person to ever hold this position, recorded a Q&A video interview with Craig Latimer, the Supervisor of Elections for Hillsborough County, which was distributed via social media and shown regularly during classes.