Young people continue to be underrepresented in our democracy, and COVID-19 has severely curtailed traditional youth voter registration efforts. As a result, Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project is using digital tools to reach potential voters and providing the information they need to navigate the 2020 election and beyond. Rachel’s Network is providing Student PIRGs a grant to help enable this work.
Since 1984, the New Voters Project’s field-based, nonpartisan effort has helped to register over two million young people to vote. This year, they are working to make voting easier, safer, and more accessible in places where campuses are in various stages of re-opening, quarantine, or re-closing. Nearly 70 percent of their 1700+ interns identify as women and environmental issues are a top priority for the organization.
Student PIRGs is using virtual events, online volunteer trainings, phonebanks, peer-to-peer mobilization, and their website studentvote.org to reach potential voters in 16 states. They partner with college administrators and faculty, city and state leaders, and student governments for greater success. On National Voter Registration Day (September 22), their efforts reached more than 1.6 million students to make sure they were registered to vote.
Rachel’s Network funding will enable Student PIRGs to continue this work—reaching students directly and through digital ads to encourage them to register and cast their ballots.
“Young people are inheriting a world beset by climate change and other environmental problems. It is imperative that they have a say in their own future,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “Student PIRGs is helping young people exercise their power, and as an organization striving for a healthy, thriving world, we are happy to support them.”
“Young people are the largest and most diverse generation of potential voters in the country and together we have the potential to elect leaders that reflect our shared values, but only if we vote,” said Alex Gordon, Junior at Eckerd College and chair of Florida PIRG Students. “The generous support of Rachel’s Network will allow us to not only engage young people in the election, it will allow us to train the next generation of activists and leaders in the movement.”
Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.
Student PIRGs works with professional staff at colleges and universities to make sure students have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all.
Photo: Student PIRGs