As the 2016 election season comes to a close, many students might find themselves afraid to vote or may feel apathetic.
Jeffrey Dominguez, a 22-year-old University of Nevada, Reno senior, is not one of them. Dominguez is a dual major in ethics law and politics and is a volunteer with the Campus Election Engagement Project.
Founded in 2008 with the goal of encouraging political participation among America’s roughly 20 million college students, CEEP has expanded rapidly over the years. From 2008 to 2014 the organization nearly doubled the number of campuses they worked with either directly or indirectly in an effort to get out the vote. In 2014 they were able to reach nearly eight million students.
Volunteers like Dominguez are key to the organization’s success.
“I feel that a lot of people in my age level don’t really care,” said Dominguez. “There’s a lack of empathy for a lot of the positions that really impact their lives, and I really wanted to be involved, spread the word, get people registered to vote, get people out to the polls, because it really makes a difference.”
Dominguez and fellow volunteers table on the UNR campus, hand out informational fliers, host debate watch parties, among other outreach methods. All of their work is centered on turning out the college vote and all of it is nonpartisan. The nonpartisan nature of their outreach has made them an approachable option for students trying to learn more about the upcoming election.
The types of questions that people ask are normally, ‘Where can I go vote?’ or, a young girl asked me the other day ‘how do I check if I’m registered to vote in this county or not?’” said Dominguez. “We really are spreading information about the candidates and where they [students] can vote.”
The goal is to help students become informed and then point them to the polls without pushing a political agenda. The work can be arduous, but Dominguez finds it incredibly rewarding.
“We get to really talk to the voters face to face. I get to talk to a lot of students I don’t know and have a one on one,” said Dominguez. “I really just like being able to encourage them, because we always know that if people don’t get that push then sometimes no one will give it to them.”
Michael Olinger is an Election Engagement Fellow with the Campus Election Engagement Project. He was drawn to work for CEEP through an abiding love of politics and a desire to reach out to voters.
The Campus Election Engagement Project is a national, nonpartisan organization dedicated to registering students and turning out the student vote. They also encourage students to become politically informed and volunteer with campaigns. Founded in 2008, the Campus Election Engagement Project worked directly and through partnerships with over 900 schools in 2014, reaching nearly 8 million students in the process.