SLSV Checklist for Community Colleges

The SLSV Coalition is a diverse group of local, state, and national organizations dedicated to increasing student voter participation and civic engagement.  As a partner in this coalition, Campus Compact recommends the use of the SLSV Checklist

The SLSV Checklist is an easy, four-step process to integrate democratic engagement into campus culture:

  1. LEAD: Ensure a person is appointed by a respected campus leader to lead your student democratic engagement programs.
  2. ENGAGE: Convene a meeting of relevant administrators from student affairs, academics affairs, and government relations, as well as faculty and student leadership to discuss a campus-wide effort to increase civic learning and democratic participation.
  3. ASSESS: Measure your campus voting rate.
  4. PLAN: Draft and submit a written action plan for increasing your campus-wide democratic engagement that will be evaluated post-election.

Below is a toolkit for Implementing the Checklist on Community College Campuses.

1. LEAD: Ensure a person is appointed by a respected campus leader to lead your student democratic engagement programs.

On most community college campuses, we have found that faculty lead this work and, more specifically, faculty in the social sciences- history, political science, and sociology due to their fields and interests.  However, we have also seen directors of service and community-based learning, and student affairs professionals.  To avoid burn out and promote equity, this role should be in rotation and not limited to those listed above.

On community college campuses, it is important for the leader to be more permanent than temporary and not transient for sustainable efforts.  Therefore, community college students are not recommended to be the Lead in these efforts.

In addition to faculty and staff roles mentioned, we also suggest the following for consideration:

  • Faculty in other disciplines than the social sciences, especially tenure-track
  • Government relations directors/liaisons
  • Student club advisors
  • Student government advisors

Whoever is the lead must be able to lead non-partisan efforts with an equity lens.

2.  ENGAGE: Convene a meeting of relevant administrators from student affairs, academics affairs, and government relations, as well as faculty and student leadership to discuss a campus-wide effort to increase civic learning and democratic participation.

From Election Imperatives:

Involve faculty across disciplines in elections.

Bolster faculty-student relationships and interactions by encouraging faculty across all academic departments to work with students on election or policy questions, in the classroom and beyond. Use clubs connected to the disciplines, such as the Engineering Society or the Chemistry Club, as venues for discussion. Have faculty in class remind students to register and vote.

Resources:

From Election Imperatives:

Establish a permanent and inclusive coalition to improve the climate for learning and participation.

Shift the paradigm away from focusing solely on voting. Instead, pursue deeper improvements to the underlying culture, structures, and behaviors on campus to cultivate students who identify themselves as active and informed stewards of a stronger democracy. Recruit a group that reflects diversity in terms of position on campus, tenure at the institution, field of expertise, social identity, political perspective, and lived experience.  Maintain the coalition beyond the election season.

Resources:

On community colleges, consider who should be at the table (including community partners):

  • Consistent student leadershipPTK officers, student government
  • Must achieve a balance for institutional buy-in, as well as even distribution of effort. This also will help prevent duplication of efforts and competitionreach, resources, space, and outreach
  • Garner resources for greater impact and reach
  • Government relationsin compliance with campus policies and relationships, public relations as media attention is very possible

Do your homework. Research community, local, and regional partners for support and resources. Campuses have utilized:

3. ASSESS: Measure your campus voting rate.

While event attendance and registration numbers are typical measurements that can be somewhat useful, NSLVE data is even better and can really and accurately measure electoral engagement.  We recommend being a part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).

From Election Imperatives:

Reflect on past elections and reimagine the next election. 

Start at the top and convene a small group of administrative, faculty, and student leaders. Reflect on the campus’ political climate and activities in past elections. Reimagine the next election season as an opportunity to bridge differences; strengthen community and inclusion; improve political discourse; cultivate student activism, leadership, and collaboration; make political learning more pervasive; and encourage informed participation in democracy.

Resources:

2012 and 2016 NSLVE reports of Campus Compact Community College members (Courtesy of SLSV Coalition):

4.  PLAN: Draft and submit a written action plan for increasing your campus-wide democratic engagement that will be evaluated post-election.

Complete Campus Compact’s Civic Action Plans and make democratic engagement a key part of your overall campus plan.  In addition to this and the resources on the first page of the preparation section.  Consider Campus Election Engagement Project’s Campus Election Engagement Assessment.
Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) developed this assessment to identify which nonpartisan election engagement practices currently take place on your campus and which can be usefully added. Campuses are encouraged to use the assessment to develop and evaluate institutional election engagement plans.  Additionally, CEEP staff are eager to provide campuses with tools, resources, and strategies to support election engagement efforts.

For more information, visit campuselect.org/2019-campus-election-engagement-assessment.