Oakland earns Bronze Seal for excellence in student voter engagement

Oakland earns Bronze Seal for excellence in student voter engagement
Voter registration fairs were just one of many student engagement programs used at Oakland University encouraging students to participate in the political process.

Oakland University has earned a Bronze seal in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for achieving a student voting rate of 57% in the 2016 Presidential election. It is a recognition program developed by the nonprofit organization Civic Nation.


The highest student voting rate among participating schools overall was The University of Missouri – Saint Louis. They achieved a 67.4% participation rate. You can see a full list of award-winning schools and individuals here.


“This is a nice recognition for our efforts on campus to get students activated in the political process by voting so they can have their voices heard,” said David Dulio, Ph.D. professor and chair of Political Science at Oakland University. “As we continue to expand the Center for Civic Engagement, it will be our goal to increase the number of student voters in future elections and graduate civic-minded students as they go out into the world and position themselves to actively participate in the future challenges our country will face.”


The good news for everyone is that college age voter participation in recent elections has been on the rise. A 2017 report, “Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting” from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, shows that between the 2012 presidential election, and the 2016 presidential election, overall student voting went from 45.1% of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3% in 2016.


Professor Dulio is in agreement with the report findings based on what he is seeing on OU’s campus. “There is definitely more student engagement and interest in politics right now than I have seen in a very long time. I think it stems from strong, polarized feelings following the 2016 presidential election. We will get a better barometer of general student voter engagement based on turnout in the upcoming mid-term elections.”


“I am proud to honor Oakland University with an ALL IN Challenge Bronze seal in recognition of their dedication, hard work, and achievement,” said Zaneeta E. Daver, director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “OU is not only ensuring that a more representative population participates in our nation’s democracy, but is educating students to be civic-minded. They are an example to be emulated.”


The All IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national awards program. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. By joining the Challenge, campuses commit to:

  • Convening a campus-wide committee that includes members from academic affairs, student affairs, and the student body, as well as any other relevant stakeholders;
  • Developing and implementing an action plan to improve democratic engagement;
  • Participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) in order to measure student voting rates; and
  • Sharing their campus’ action plan and NSLVE results in order to be eligible for a recognition seal and/or awards.


More than 300 campuses, enrolling more than 4 million students, in 44 states and the District of Columbia have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.


Other schools in Michigan participating in the program include: Central Michigan University, Delta College, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Siena Heights University, Southwestern Michigan College, UM-Ann Arbor and UM-Dearborn.


About the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge:

In 2016, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge became a part of the nonprofit organization Civic Nation and its first staff members were hired.  In the summer of 2016 the initiative was soft launched at the Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Meeting, organized by the American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and in July it was officially launched.


About the Center for Civic Engagement at Oakland University:

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) takes important issues of public concern and public policy out of the classroom and actively engages many different stakeholders — includes students, faculty, policy makers and community members — in non-partisan, deliberative and productive dialogue. Indeed, democracy is better served through respectful discussions about important issues.

In short, the Center for Civic Engagement acts as a “convener of conversations” on a variety of issues that impact the local, state and federal levels. These types of events are designed to lead to a more informed citizenry in the surrounding communities.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement serves the OU and surrounding community by:

  • Informing the campus and community about important issues of public concern through non-partisan dialogue
  • Supporting and undertaking efforts to enhance civic engagement and civic literacy
  • Promoting research related to public policy to inform policy makers and the public
  • Encouraging student involvement in civic engagement and public policy through volunteerism, internships and experiential learning 


bronze seal