Hannah Pate, a third-year student studying Community Leadership at Montana State University-Northern, is determined to institutionalize civic engagement, working with college and university administrators across the state to develop comprehensive and intentional campus engagement strategies. As a student, Hannah has served the Northern campus community through leadership in student government and other campus organizations, as a member of and champion for underserved communities, and has lobbied on behalf of students in state legislative sessions related to the rising cost of education and enhancing access to higher education in Montana. As a professional, Hannah has worked to enhance voter registration and education, to generate collaborative solutions around equity, inclusion, and engagement with college and university administrators, and to raise awareness of the need for sustainable, systemic solutions that support healthy civic discourse within our campus communities. Hannah’s professional and educational efforts are centered on reminding all of us that truly transformative change is predicated on and realized through the connections we form with each other.
My first time registering people to vote was in 2016 through volunteering for a statewide nonprofit that aimed to get low-income Montanans civically engaged. There are many barriers that exist for young people specifically to the ballot box and other means of civic engagement. I became involved in advocacy with another organization and have worked full-time with them while going to school. Throughout this, we've been able to protect school funding to ensure college can be more accessible to all Montanans, and registered thousands of voters. If we continue to engage with young Montanans, we will be able to not only increase civic engagement, but create a more equitable state for all it's inhabitants.