Today's critical political times have motivated a generation of frustrated youth to become consciously invested in their local community and eager to promote positive change. Millennials are among the most politically active groups across the world, and according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, the millennial generation is the most diverse in American history. Yet, being politically active and civically engaged requires a community-support system where young people and young voters, are educated and immersed in a community on a long-term basis, not just during election time.
MOVE San Antonio, a nonpartisan organization founded in 2013 by UTSA students and alumni, is one of the strongest political platforms for millennials that exists today in the Alamo City. "Of young people, by young people, for young people" is the unofficial mantra that guides all of the organizational efforts.
"Voting goes far beyond a ballot," said Alyssa Pope, field organizer for MOVE San Antonio. "Voting is an integral part of being civically engaged. Voting is everyday education about how and where to vote. Voting is canvassing for every single election, whether it is a mayoral or a constitutional amendment election. And most importantly voting is about maintaining an informed relationship with other citizens."
The vital implications of voting for civic life and the multiple strategies that this organization employs to increase young voter turnout in San Antonio inspired a strong partnership with UTSA last academic year.
UTSA heavily invested in National Voter Registration Day and all early voting efforts for the May 2017 general Bexar County elections. UTSA was also an early voting site for San Antonio's mayoral and city council election, and later the runoff election in June 2017. More than 1,500 people cast their ballots at the UTSA Main Campus. UTSA's polling place and active role in municipal voter registration underscore the desire, along with MOVE San Antonio, to create change through direct engagement with the student body.
"Only 3.6 percent of registered voters under the age of 35 participated in San Antonio's 2015 municipal election," said H. Drew Galloway, executive director of MOVE San Antonio. "We knew we had to partner not just with UTSA but with all colleges and universities in the city."
Partnership implies a focus on outreach and empathy, since MOVE San Antonio works with UTSA to meet college students where they are. "College students love humor and visibility," said Galloway. "If that means registering people to vote while wearing a banana or a robot costume or placing over 40,000 voter guides in the student newspaper, we will make contact with young people in a fun and regular basis."
On National Voter Registration Day alone, and with the support of MOVE San Antonio, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Student Government Association and the College of Public Policy registered 3,172 new voters at UTSA. Amplifying the positive trend of efforts at UTSA, MOVE San Antonio registered a total of 8,568 voters city-wide.
"Partnering with MOVE San Antonio for voter engagement efforts is both inspiring and empowering," said Carolina Canizales, program coordinator at the Center for Civic Engagement. "Young leaders engaging their peers at UTSA year-round is a strong foundation for civic responsibility. We're thrilled to continue this collaboration and encourage all UTSA students to register and cast their vote."VISIT WEBSITE
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Community Connect magazine is an annual publication produced by the Office of the Vice President for Community Services (VPCS). The mission of Community Services is to extend UTSA beyond its campuses into San Antonio and South Texas through public service, extension, outreach and community education. This mission is accomplished through a variety of programs and initiatives, some of which are showcased on this website.Make a Gift