Whatcom Community College has been designated a “Voter Friendly Campus” by national, non-partisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education). WCC is one of only two colleges in Washington State to earn the designation for 2021-22, and joins a network of more than 235 campuses nationwide that met the necessary criteria for planning and implementing practices that encourage students to register and vote in 2020 elections and in the coming years.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. WCC was evaluated based on a plan outlining how to register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2020, how the College facilitated voter engagement efforts on campus, and a final analysis of efforts.
The pursuit of the designation required leadership from the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC) over the last two years. In 2019, the ASWCC executive board submitted the initial application, successfully completed an approved action plan last spring, and left an impressive legacy for the current student leadership team to inherit and put into action. Civic engagement efforts strongly align with the College’s mission and strategic plan dedicated to promoting student access through quality services and resources, and a vital component of preparing students to succeed in a diverse and pluralistic society. Community partners like the League of Women Voters of Bellingham and Whatcom County have also supported campus voting efforts the last several years.
“By creating a campus community where students can be involved in developing understanding and leadership around legislative affairs, Whatcom Community College has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy,” said Heidi Farani, WCC’s Director for Student Life and Development. “This designation exemplifies our values as a campus and community. We look forward to diligently continuing this work with student leaders at WCC in the future.”
About Whatcom: Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers two bachelor of applied science degrees, transfer degrees, career and workforce preparation, online courses, and community education classes. WCC is sharing stories of community, success, and support in April to help celebrate Community College Month. Follow along at #CCMonth. For more information, visit www.whatcom.edu.
NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Their work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.
Fair Elections Center is national, nonpartisan voting rights and legal support organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting and improve election administration across the United States. Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote. Notably, the list of designated Voter Friendly Campuses institutions includes many Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The program is ultimately serving over 3.5 million students nationwide.