The Campus Election Engagement Project has awarded Mary Baldwin University the Democracy Cup for its participation in the Live Election Broadcast in November. The award includes a cash prize to help finance college coverage of this fall’s gubernatorial election.
Four Mary Baldwin students —Alexandra Ellmauer ’16, Meredith Miller ’13, Tara Riggs ’13, and Kristina Lee ’14 — attended the Active Citizens Conference at The College of William and Mary on February 15–16. The conference focused on educating, unifying, and inspiring college students who are active in their communities.
To qualify for the Democracy Cup, students were asked to submit applications and three-minute videos about their election experience. The judges then looked at how students engaged their peers in the election process.
On November 6, 2012, Mary Baldwin students participated in an election night simulation by gathering results and broadcasting them from a newsroom in the Spencer Center to an audience in Miller Chapel. The Live Election event was the result of months of organizing and hard work by several communication and political science students.
Four other colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Mary Baldwin, were awarded certificates.
“I discovered new ways to engage in my community, met really great people, and made connections with experienced individuals who will be able to help me out later on in my career,” Ellmauer said.
The students arrived Friday evening at William and Mary’s Mason School of Business with eager minds. More than 200 students from Virginia colleges and universities and from states as far away as Indiana were ready to learn ways to increase their leadership skills.
The night started off with dinner and keynote speaker Timothy McCarthy, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He expanded on the definition of social justice and talked about being brave enough to feel bold.
“College is one of the safest places to be, so become bolder, take control,” McCarthy said. “You do not have to wait for someone to act like Martin L. King or Rosa Parks to make a change.”
Students attended several workshops that covered topics such as cultural sensitivity, how to start a nonprofit, and ways to improve next year’s election process.
Chief Executive Officer of D.C. Central Kitchen Mike Curtin spoke about social injustice and social enterprise. His organization helps provide food for Washington, DC, residents and teaches former prisoners culinary skills. With this enterprise, the kitchen provides 10,000 meals a day to the poor.
“I enjoyed attending the conference because it was really great to see students from all over the country come together and learn about more things they can do to reach out to their communities,” said economics/political science double major Miller.
Professor of Political Science Laura van Assendelft is already looking forward to building on the success from the last election cycle.
“For this fall’s gubernatorial election, we are going to follow the same model as this past year. We have more accessibility after winning the $500 cash prize at the conference,” van Assendelft said. “The difference is that we are going to be more organized, broadly, and possibly get the two candidates here for a debate.”