UTSA places second, nationally, in Campus Votes Challenge

UTSA was ranked second in the
country for its participation in the Campus Vote Challenge, which dared
colleges and students to become more active in the 2012 elections. UTSA
finished ahead of schools such as Purdue University and the University of Michigan
and was bested only by George Washington University. Twenty schools
participated in the Campus Votes Challenge.

Campus Votes Challenge was sponsored
by groups such as Rock the Vote and USA Today. The program asked schools not
only to register voters but also to seek voter involvement efforts such as
voter education and debate watch parties.

Danny Khalil, who serves as a
Legislative Affairs Director for UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA), said
he is proud of the recognition from Campus Votes Challenge, although he admits
it was not easy. “A lot of the problems we had were with voter apathy, and
you’ll see that with a lot of youth voters,” Khalil said.

A poll released by the Pew Research
Center showed that only 50 percent of eligible voters age 18-29 were registered
to vote, down 16 points from 2008. To combat voter apathy, Khalil said, much of
UTSA’s efforts went toward making issues relevant to otherwise disinterested

The effort was a collaboration by a
host of student and community organizations, including SGA, Black Student
Union, College Democrats and College Republicans. Working together, they were
able to register 3,007 voters—about 10 percent of UTSA’s student population—as a
part of the UTSA Votes project.

“Our team was amazing,” said Khalil.
“We had leaders from College Democrats and College Republicans who were working
hand-in-hand to get people registered to vote.”

Campus groups will continue to
reach out to student voters. For example, city council candidates will visit the
campus so that students will be able to make informed choices in May’s
municipal elections.