Titans claim victory in Blono Campus Voter Registration Challenge

By Samira Kassem Oct 30, 2020
IWU topped ISU and Heartland in the number of students who registered to vote by October 18. 
Image: Illinois Wesleyan via Instagram

Illinois Wesleyan was announced as the official winner of the ‘Blono Campus Voter Registration Challenge’ upon its end on October 18. 692 IWU students registered to vote in total. 

The challenge was a friendly competition between IWU, Illinois State and Heartland Community College. The aim of the competition was to see which school could have the most students register to vote before Oct. 18.

The initiative to get IWU students registered to vote, ‘Titan Votes,’ was led by the Student Senate in partnership with the IWU Athletics Department. 

“It is important that educated young adults exercise their right to vote. Also this is a pivotal election and students’ voices are important. This election will have major impacts on students currently at Wesleyan, especially when they are preparing to join the job force,” Student Senate President Freya Jennison said. 

Although Jennison is the president of the senate, she says that Civic Engagement Commissioner Wah Chook is responsible for organizing the initiative and challenge with other Bloomington-Normal schools. 

“I think it [the challenge] nicely brings the three higher ed institutions in Bloomington together. We all had one common goal- get people out to vote. It doesn’t matter if you are a Redbird, Hawk or Titan- it is everyone’s civic duty to vote,” Chook said.

It was with the help of Director of the Action Research Center, Bevin Choban that Chook was able to connect with the other Bloomington-Normal colleges and universities and create the challenge.  

The campaign was launched at a Campus Activities Board (CAB) event at which students were invited to tie-dye masks for themselves or local non-profit organizations while learning about voter registration. Though they could not actually register to vote there, over 100 students attended Tuesday’s event where Chook provided different resources as well as guidance. 

The initiative, which ran from September 22–National Voter Registration day–through October 18, saw 692 IWU students or 42 percent of the student body get registered to vote. 

Illinois State saw 636 students register or three percent of their student body, and Heartland saw only 68 students register. 

Of the 636 students who registered through the Titan Votes initiative, a majority of them were student athletes. 

The challenge helped 42 percent of the IWU student body get registered to vote. 
Illustration: Samira Kassem

The Athletic Department ensured that all 550 plus student athletes were registered to vote ahead of the November 3 election. 

“We held Zoom calls with each of our teams, walking our student-athletes and coaches through the registration process. We also worked together on some materials for Voter Education Week that we shared via social media,” Director of Athletic Communications Katie Gonzalez said. 

The department also wanted to ensure that students had the necessary resources to get out and vote this election cycle. 

“Many of our students are taking part in an election for the first time, which in of itself can be daunting, let alone doing it during COVID. We wanted to ensure that our students were prepared and knew where to find resources such as vote.org” Gonzalez said. 

Although the challenge is over, students are still urged to get registered and go vote before Tuesday’s election.

“We just want everyone to be excited to fight for some change together,” Chook said.

“We are collecting voting selfies from anyone in the IWU community, use #Titanvotes2020 or tag @iwusports and @iwusenate on instagram or email photos to iwusports@gmail.com. Any IWU students who send us their pictures will be entered into a raffle.” 

Any student with questions surrounding voting can reference the Argus’s voting guide here

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