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KU key part of national effort fostering youth political engagement

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas students and one administrator are traveling to Harvard University this month to participate in an intensive training and conference, led by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP). The seminar will feature political practitioners and expert organizers on voter registration and campus political engagement. 

KU is a member of Harvard Institute of Politics’ National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, a consortium of 27 colleges and universities around the country aiming to engage and encourage the next generation to improve communities through bipartisan politics and public service. National Campaign participating schools work on their own campus and collaboratively in three key areas: electoral politics; career development in public service; and civic education. 

On Sept. 25-27, Harvard will host KU seniors Christina Ostmeyer, Colby, and Eric Pahls, Beloit; junior Will Admussen, Urbandale, Iowa; sophomore Claire Meczkowski, Bentonville, Arkansas; and other National Campaign students from 22 states for a conference titled: Campus Activation: Increasing Student Voting and Political Engagement.

Barbara Ballard, associate director of KU’s Dole Institute of Politics, will join the group.

Students will focus on voter registration outreach techniques as well as receive grassroots organizing training and learn to use technology for political engagement.

Conference trainers include professionals with expertise in government, voter mobilization, communications, social media and marketing.  

Ostmeyer, Pahls, Admussen and Meczkowski will use skills gleaned from conference experts to boost voter registration efforts on the KU campus. 

"The IOP is honored to host students from across the country who will create the future of politics by driving political and civic engagement," said Harvard IOP Director Maggie Williams. "This conference and training seminar will help foster political participation both here at Harvard and at National Campaign schools throughout the nation."

“One of our top priorities at the Dole Institute is to promote political and civic participation,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “Our students will gain invaluable knowledge from this conference, and we look forward to exploring those ideas at KU.”

More information about Harvard Institute of Politics’ National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement:

In addition to taking action to spur student political involvement on their respective campuses, the National Campaign consortium works during the academic year to –

  • Issue specific recommendations for government, media, campaigns and educational institutions to promote political and civic engagement;
  • Collect and make available key research; and
  • Create new training opportunities for organizations and individuals seeking to promote youth engagement and participation. 

The National Campaign’s 27 consortium schools are Allegheny College, Arizona State University, Birmingham Southern College, Elon University, Franklin & Marshall College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Saint Anselm College, Simpson College, Stonehill College, Tennessee State University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Kansas, University of Louisville, University of Oklahoma, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Texas, University of Utah, University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University.