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    University Students Get Ready to Vote in 2020 Elections

    September 29, 2020

    As the November elections draw near, The University of Scranton prepares students to participate in their civic duty of voting. For many University students, this election will mark the first time that they are eligible voters. In addition to voting for the first time, many students will also need to navigate this election in a very unique way due to the ongoing pandemic.

    On the evening of Constitution Day, University’s Political Dialogues Working Group hosted a virtual student Political Dialogue “Values That Inform Your Vote”.  This dialogues offered 35 student participants from a variety of backgrounds and political affiliations the opportunity to engage in a non-partisan open discussion about the values that they hold and how this will translate into who they will vote for at the ballot box, or mailbox, this November.

    This dialogue event called into focus that in addition to 2020 being an election year, this year also marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the denial of voting rights based on race, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, prohibiting the denial of voting rights based on gender. The dialogue allowed students to reflect on how their own experiences shape their personal value systems. By engaging students from across the political spectrum in genuine listening and open conversation students were able to be heard and also were able to hear from others who may be different than them.

    The University has organized similar discussions on campus since 2017 as a part of an ongoing "Bursting out Political Bubbles" Dialogue Initiative, which blends the reflective, structured dialogue methods of national non-profit Essential Partners with St. Ignatius of Loyola's teachings of discernment and reflection. For tips on how to have your own constructive dialogue that involves both listening to and learning from others, click here

    Students can also submit a video or photo sharing about "Why They Vote" through a non-partisan initiative. Students can write down their "Why" for voting in the upcoming election and take a photo holding their sign. Students can share their submissions on social media using #RoyalsVote2020 or email their submission directly to community@scranton.edu. These images will be shared on the Community Relations social media channels in the days leading up to the election. This non-partisan initiative aims to allow students to reflect upon and articulate their personal motivation for engaging in the civic duty of voting. 

    To prepare as a University community for the upcoming election, the Office of Community and Government Relations in collaboration with Scranton Student Government has created a voting resource hub: scranton.edu/RoyalsVote. This site contains nonpartisan voter information, voting guides by issues, resources from Ignatian and Catholic organizations, and voter education information. Students can easily register to vote by scanning posters with QR codes located across campus. University students with voting questions also have the opportunity for more individualized support. Scranton Student Government officers are offering voter information drop-in sessions and students can contact the Office of Community Relations for one-on-one Zoom sessions by emailing community@scranton.edu.

    Questions about the virtual political dialogue or non-partisan voter engagement initiative can be directed to community@scranton.edu.

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