Elon Votes! engaging campus community with Election Day events

Elon is engaging the campus community in meaningful conversations before and after the 2020 presidential election through a series of scheduled events.

As millions of Americans cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, student leaders of the nonpartisan organization Elon Votes! are making one final push to encourage the Elon community to engage in democracy.

Tuesday, Elon Votes!, the Elon University Political Engagement Work Group and President Connie Ledoux Book embarked on an election-themed “Phoenix Walk” to kick off a series of events related to Election Day. The 3.1-mile walk took participants from Young Commons, through campus and to a nearby polling place at First Baptist Church on East Haggard Avenue.

Colin Donohue, director of School of Communications student engagement (left), President Connie Ledoux Book (right), and several other members of the campus community walked to the polls on Tuesday.

The walk, organized by Elon Votes!, took the place of President Book’s traditional Phoenix Walk, which is hosted weekly on Tuesday mornings. The event gave walkers the opportunity to have meaningful conversations and consider the importance of Election Day.

“We really wanted to provide an opportunity for engagement and connection on a day where our entire country is coming together to decide our future,” said Andrea Sheetz ’22, co-coordinator of Elon Votes!

Cate Podell ’22, director of civic engagement for Elon Volunteers!, poses in a voting-themed face mask following Tuesday’s walk.

Upon their arrival at First Baptist Church, the group hand delivered voting-themed face masks before returning to Young Commons. For President Book, the walk allowed time to reflect on all that Election Day means to our nation.

“It’s a hopeful day, it’s a positive day because it recognizes our ability to vote and acknowledges all of the people who raise their hands for public service,” Book said.

The Phoenix Walk was part of a series of events and opportunities for Elon students to engage in the voting process on Election Day. The university also provided a shuttle service to and from the polls for students from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the McMichael parking lot. Elon Votes! also hosted a voting event at Speakers Corner where students could pick up “I Voted” stickers and take pictures in an “I Voted” photo booth.

“We’re just doing what we can to celebrate today,” Sheetz said. “It’s all about the election, it’s all about the fact that we have voted and we have turned out. Today is about celebrating the vote.”

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In the days and weeks following the election, Elon is offering several opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage in dialogue surrounding Election Day. Those events include:

Hopes for the Future: Public Art Project

Wednesday, November 4, E. Haggard Ave., between Scott Plaza and Young Commons

As our community and nation come together after a highly contentious election season, we have many hopes for our collective future.  Share your hopes for the future by writing on the large display boards or directly on the street. The project is inspired by the work of artist Candy Chang.

Sponsored by the Division of Student Life

Post-Election Reflection and Conversation Spaces

Wednesday, November 4 – Friday, November 6, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Student Life spaces available and staffed throughout the week for drop-in reflection and conversation:

  • CREDE & El Centro
  • Gender & LGBTQIA Center
  • Kernodle Center for Civic Life
  • Numen Lumen Pavilion (reflection/meditation) & Sklut Hillel Center

Several centers will also host additional in-person or virtual drop-in opportunities, with details posted on their websites, newsletters, or social media.

Protesting: Understanding Your Rights

Thursday, November 5, 12:00 p.m., Register Online Here

This leadership workshop, part of the series “Good Trouble: Sustained Activism,” will provide participants with information on protester safety, rights and responsibilities as well as the various ways to engage in protest and demonstration activity.

Sponsored by the Center for Leadership

After the Vote: Political Science Faculty Panel Discussion

Thursday, November 5, 4:15 p.m., Zoom Link

Join faculty members from the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies to learn more about the 2020 general election results. Faculty will break down where things stand as votes are still being counted in the presidential election. Faculty will also discuss the outcome of competitive senate and gubernatorial races as well as what these results mean for the future.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies

Post-Election Wellness and Opportunities Panel

Monday, November 9, 4:00-5:00pm, Zoom Link

In the wake of the November election, Dr. Mark Eades from Counseling Services will host a virtual panel to help support student well-being. Dr. Eades will share thoughts and resources to promote wellness, and moderate a panel designed to highlight opportunities for students to engage in organizations and programs that will allow them to become more active citizens and contributors to civic life. Panelists will include students and staff from Student Involvement, College Republicans, College Democrats, Elon Volunteers!, and the Kernodle Center for Civic Life.

Sponsored by Counseling Services and the Kernodle Center for Civic Life

Protesting: Understanding Your Rights

Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m., Register Online Here

This leadership workshop, part of the series “Good Trouble: Sustained Activism,” will provide participants with information on protester safety, rights, and responsibilities as well as the various ways to engage in protest and demonstration activity.

Sponsored by the Center for Leadership

2020 Election Faculty/Staff Reflection

Friday, November 13, 1:50 – 2:50 p.m., Zoom Link, (Zoom Passcode: Elect2020)

Whatever the outcome of the election, chances are that our campus community will benefit from an opportunity to reflect and process together. In this lightly facilitated virtual session, we’ll have time to reflect on the 2020 election and how it has come up in our subsequent interactions with students and colleagues — inside and outside of the classroom. We’ll also invite breakout groups to consider: What does it mean to be an active citizen post-election? How do we work with students to help them think this way? How, that is, do we think and act forward?

Faculty and staff are invited to this campus-wide conversation sponsored by the Kernodle Center for Civic Life, the Council on Civic Engagement, and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.