TDC Events

Engage the Election 2016 Webinar: Engaging Student Voters in a Modern Democracy

Engage the Election 2016 Webinar: Engaging Student Voters in a Modern Democracy

Join the TurboVote team and campus partners for “Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands.” The webinar takes place on Wednesday, August 24 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT as a part of the ADP/TDC Engage the Election 2016 series. RSVP here.

turbovote-logo1Voting is the most basic form of civic participation we have in our democracy—one person, one vote. No matter political stance, line of work, or station in life, everyone can support the fundamental notion that conducting regular, nonpartisan elections furthers that idea. If a democracy that represents us all is the ultimate aim, a more inclusive democracy is the way to achieve it. Institutions of higher education have a valuable role to play in reaching that goal.

In fact, most colleges and universities have an obligation to promote civic participation by actively supporting their students in the voting process:

● A Dear Colleague letter from the Department of Education, released in summer 2013, reminds leaders of a provision included in section 487(a)(23) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that specifically requires institutions to distribute voter registration forms to their students.

● The federal Higher Education Amendments of 1998 also requires colleges to make a “good faith effort” to distribute registration materials on their campuses.

For many of you, I suspect this information is not new nor are you interested in simply meeting minimum requirements. I imagine the question of “What could a ‘good faith effort’ look like?” is the more exciting – perhaps, daunting – unknown. While our shared goal of increasing youth civic participation brings us together, what brings us to the next level?

At Democracy Works, the home of TurboVote, we hope to answer that question. TurboVote is an application that makes voting easy. When you sign up, we keep track of your elections, local and national, and send you email/text reminders about important deadlines and dates. If you need to get registered, update your voter registration, or request an absentee ballot, we’ll get you all the forms and information you need, when you need them.

We connect with colleges and universities that use TurboVote everyday to talk strategy, new ideas, and, my favorite topic, how to improve our democracy. An equally valuable part of those conversations is acknowledging the difficulty of this work. From bureaucratic red tape to tabling fatigue, increasing voter registration on college campuses is difficult. Doing so in a way that has a dramatic, measurable impact is even harder.

To fulfill the spirit of the Higher Education Act, we need to embed voter resources into student life. We must institutionalize voter registration efforts on campus so democratic participation becomes second nature to all student voters.

In the first months of 2016, TurboVote partners across the country went to work conducting and aggregating research to identify best practices for integrating voter registration with campus web infrastructure. With funding support from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, TurboVote conducted our IT Integration Study to answer two main questions: What is the IT landscape of communication and education technology on campus communities? How does that relate to campus voter registration and engagement?

Our lead research team out of the University of North Georgia constructed a survey to be administered at a variety of higher education institutions. Survey respondents came from six target groups: IT, academic affairs, student affairs, communications, faculty, and student organizations. 24 TurboVote partner campuses participated in the study in an effort to uncover both the opportunities and obstacles to IT integration.

We learned classroom integrations, links within student portals, and mass emails are the best opportunities for collaboration with IT departments to promote voter registration. Dedicated staff and students are key to starting the conversation on campus and engaging stakeholders who, we learned, are willing to give this a try. We were excited to share our findings and see what next steps campus partners might take.

Little did we know, TurboVote implementers across the country quickly traded in steps for serious leaps. At Lone Star College in Texas, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement Dr. Theis worked with IT staffers to include a call-to-action banner on their student portal to register through TurboVote. Their TurboVote site has since seen over 1,600 signups.

Beginning in fall 2016, all Harvard undergraduate students will have the opportunity to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, or sign up for election reminders as a part of their mandatory online “check in” process. Executive Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) Cathy McLaughlin spearheaded the effort on campus enlisting the help of the Harvard Registrar’s Office and Oracle, provider of PeopleSoft Campus Solutions.

As the fall election draws near, many other campuses are pushing the ball forward and working to integrate voter registration into the portals and pass-throughs students use everyday. We’re excited to share their success stories and personal experiences with the hopes of empowering many more institutions to raise the bar for voter engagement. After all, if we can embed voter registration in this way, we can greatly strengthen our efforts in other valuable areas of this work: voter education, mobilization, and creating all-around engaged citizens. Then, we won’t just be meeting federal requirements; We’ll be helping to create a more inclusive democracy.

Join the TurboVote team and campus partners for Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, August 24 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT as a part of the ADP/TDC Engage the Election 2016 series. RSVP here. We hope to see you there!

RSVP Now for Summer TDC/ADP Engage the Election 2016 Webinars

We’re excited to announce our 5th and 6th ADP/TDC Engage the Election 2016 webinars powered by icitizen. These webinars are open to faculty, staff, students and friends.



Walk2Vote Logo

Webinar 5:  Student Empowerment through Civic Engagement

Thursday, July 28, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern

Please join us for a webinar on Student Empowerment through Civic Engagement on Thursday, July 28th, at 2 pm Eastern. During the program, John Locke, a former student body president at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) will introduce Walk 2 Vote, a student led, student executed, non-partisan political engagement program created by UHD students.  It has grown from a local/campus-based initiative to what is now a national movement. Learn how to host a #Walk2Vote campaign on your campus. Walk 2 Vote co-founder Locke will share the key components and philosophies that are important to successfully empower students to become politically engaged. He will also lead a discussion and share details of the Walk 2 Vote model including resource packets, contests, funding leads and marketing resources, opportunities to highlight your campus achievements and connections to organizations that will support your efforts.


John Locke, former Student Body President of the University of Houston-Downtown (Texas) and Co-Founder of Walk 2 Vote




turbovote-logo1Webinar 6: Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST

Offered in partnership with TurboVote, this webinar will explore the research and subsequent implementation of an innovative (yet, easy!) voter engagement strategy: integrating voter registration and resources into campus IT infrastructure. The TurboVote team and their campus partners will share success stories and their personal experiences with engaging the necessary stakeholders and turning web-based student portals and pass-throughs into “online voter registration tables.” Just in time for this fall’s election, we invite you to join us in raising the voter engagement bar and institutionalizing your registration efforts so voting can fit the way students live.


Matt Tharp and Emily Giffin, TurboVote Partner Support Leads will be joined by TurboVote Campus Partners



ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative Student Summit!


A Ticket to the Middle Class: A Student Public Policy Summit on Higher Education

We welcome you to join us for the very first ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative Student Summit! This event, coordinated by students, staff and faculty from both Keene State College (N.H.) and Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.), will provide opportunities for students from across the Northeast region to participate in a mock Congress, hear expert perspectives on economic inequality, and network with their peers.

Over two days, students will come together to discuss, debate and learn about the proposals for free college. Ultimately, students will develop and vote upon a resolution, and will have the opportunity to submit their recommendations to their elected officials and institutions of higher education.

Students will examine the cost of higher education, including issues of student debt, and proposals for free college/free tuition/debt free college; the value of higher education, and what a college degree means for those who have it and those who do not; how to fund higher education more effectively, and specifically, if some form of higher education is made free; and, access to higher education, including such issues as placement testing and discussions of higher education as a right vs. a privilege.

When: Saturday, April 2 at 9 a.m. EDT to Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m. EDT Where: Keene State College, Main St., Keene, NH 03435

Institutions may register up to 20 students each. All undergraduate students must be registered with an advisor from their institution. A registration fee of $85/participant will be due before the event.

Register and find more information here.  

Event Showcase|3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar Oct. 23-26 at NOVA

NOVAThe 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar will be held at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus on October 23-36, 2015. The conference will focus on promoting the understanding global issues including conflict, violence, war, and the efforts to build peaceful and sustainable communities.

The seminar is designed to support faculty and administrators as they work on developing relevant and innovative approaches to teaching about global conflict and peacebuilding. Experts on global conflict and peacebuilding from Washington D.C. will be teaching attendees about approaches that can be used with students. The themes that will be covered will include international law, peace and conflict resolution education, experiential learning, media, dialogue, program development and other areas that will tap the expertise uniquely based in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the conference click here.

Constitution Day 2015 | TDC Campuses Across the Nation Celebrate and Engage in a Big Way

Constitution Day 2015

Constitution Day can be seen as a celebratory event; and in many cases it is a celebration of an experiment in democratic governance that continues to balance rights to equality and liberty. On most of our campuses, however, Constitution Day is not (only) celebratory, but a day to spur people to think more deeply, to consider opposing perspectives, to spur citizens to action and to wrestle with complex issues facing our civic life and democratic institutions.

We hope you take the time to peruse the 2015 Constitution Day offerings of just some of our TDC campuses. They’ve been busy registering new voters and discussing infringements on voter rights. They are urging their communities to focus on race, racism and other inequalities and social injustices that persist in our country. We encourage you to do the same today and every day.

Here are a few examples of what our campuses are doing today:

Mount Wachusett Community College (Massachusetts)

Mount Wachusett is holding a trivia show, which will include questions on the constitution. They will also have a “voting is a piece of cake’ table where they can register to vote, pick up a pocket constitution and win a prize or get a free piece of cake. For more information click here.

Lone Star Community College (Texas)

Lone Star’s Student Government Association will be hosting an informative session on the United States Constitution. For more information click here.

Middlesex Community College (Massachusetts)

Middlesex Community College will celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day with a special presentation by MA State Auditor Suzanne Bump. For more information click here.

SUNY Broome Community College (New York)

SUNY Broome to celebrate Constitution Day with a cosmic lecture. The lecture will be led by the interstellar political anthropologist and cultural historian Goud Ranrag, from Planet Bb of the Alpha Centauri Federation, located some four light years distant from Earth. The lecture will challenge the campus and the local community to think about what role American citizens have now and over the next 50 years in either witnessing the death of democracy or assisting in its revitalization. Young people are especially encouraged to come and hear a “cosmic voice” sharing his thoughts and observations about the future of the American experiment in democracy. For More Information click here.

The Alamo Colleges (Texas)

The Alamo Colleges is hosting an event with Mi Familia Voto Performance; Informational tables & Voters Registration; and Constitutional displays & games. For More Information visit here.

Yavapai College (Arizona)

In honor of Constitution Day Thursday, September 17th, the Prescott Campus Library of Yavapai College will have a display at the library’s InfoPortal Sept. 14 – 19. The Prescott Campus Library is a Government Depository library. The Library will offer free pamphlets that contain a copy of the constitution and pencils/post-it notepads. For more information visit here.

Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio)

Cuyahoga Community College Western Campus celebrated Constitution Day—or Citizenship Day on September 15 by commemorating the day with a game of Jeopardy, where contestants answered questions about the U.S. Constitution.

Cuyahoga Community College

ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative Updates


By Amanda Adams, AASCU Civic Engagement Intern and Stockton University (N.J.) student

For more information on the joint ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative, go here.

New Economic Inequality Grants
We are excited to announce that thanks to Weber State University’s (Utah) overwhelming generosity under Provost Emeritus Michael Vaughan’s leadership, we are able to offer campus mini-grants of up to $1,000 to ADP/TDC Economic Inequality participating campuses for the purpose of advancing the work of this initiative.
Applications are due by Monday, October 19, 2015 for best consideration. To apply, EI campuses must complete the following two Google forms:

•The ADP/TDC EI Campus Grant Application Form can be found here.
• The ADP/TDC EI Campus Reporting Form can be found here.

Keene State (NH) Professor Receives Award for Work on Economic Inequality Initiative
Patrick Dolenc, professor of economics, received the 2015 Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement from the American Democracy Project. Dolenc’s goal for his students is not for them to just graduate and get good jobs, but to care about and know how to make a difference in their communities through civic engagement, one of the many reasons he was chosen for this award. To read more about Dolenc and the impact of this award click here.

Weber State (Utah) Provost Michael Vaughan to Study Economic Inequality’s Effect on Democracy
Under Vaughan’s leadership, Weber State University will offer a new course this fall focused on helping students understand economic inequality. A team at Weber University is working on producing educational videos that will be used to promote and circulate information on the topic. Weber State is participating in the ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative and Michael Vaughan is a member of the initiative’s advisory council. Learn more here.

EI Initiative at SUNY Cortland to pose EI Questions on Democracy Wall
SUNY Cortland, an EI campus, is facilitating a community dialogue about democracy and economic inequality via a “democracy wall” — a blackboard that invites community participation by posing questions. Learn more about their efforts here.

Please see also our earlier post on the Economic Inequality and Civic Engagement Conference being held by EI and our TDC campus, Lone Star College – Kingwood (Texas).

2015 State of the Union Watch Event & Tweet-Up (1.20.15 @ 7pm EST)

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

As President Obama prepares to deliver the 2015 State of the Union address on Tuesday (1/20), we are excited to announce that The Democracy Commitment will be continuing our tradition of engaging our students in a non-partisan discussion regarding the state of our democracy via Twitter. However, this year, in addition to a Tweet-Up, we will be live-streaming a student and Millennial-focused viewing event accessible from anywhere in the country and adding a polling component.

The Democracy Commitment has partnered with the American Democracy ProjectNASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, GVH Live, iCitizen, and the School of Communication at Illinois State University to provide comprehensive, exclusive, and interactive State of Union coverage on January 20th from the GVH Live event studio in Arlington, VA. This event will take place from 7 p.m. EST until 11 p.m. EST.

There are multiple ways to participate:

  • Tweet-Up:
    Throughout the event we will be participating in a social media conversation using the hashtag #iSOTU. To enhance engagement, please tweet at us (@TDCNational, @ADPaascu, @NASPAtweets, @GVHLive, @iCitizen, @ISUSOC_SMACC) using this hashtag. Illinois State University’s Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) will provide analysis of our Twitter stream as well as of public conversations from social media outlets, popular discussion forums, and major blogs
  • Live-Stream:
    Available for free, coverage will be streamed live on the website and will include (in addition to the speech itself) podcasts, panel discussions by field experts and college students from ADP/TDC and NASPA campuses, live interviews by GVH correspondents, and real-time polling of thousands of participants provided by iCitizen through its interactive mobile app.
  • Polling:
    iCitizen will be conducting real-time polling through out the event to determine to gauge and analyze the opinions of Millennials from all over America. To participate in iCitizen’s live polling you will need to download their free mobile app here. Note: If you are a college student we recommend that you register with iCitizen using your college email address.

  • Show Up:
    If you are a student in the Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland region and would like to attend our screening in-person please visit our Eventbrite page here to receive your free ticket.

Please take a minute to share this widely with students, faculty members, administrators, and others whom might be interested in participating in this event.


ADP State of the Union Watch Event and Tweet-Up

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. EST

Twitter, GVHLive Website, iCitizen App, In-Person


SAVE THE DATE: State of the Union (SOTU) 2015

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project Blog

Building on the success of last year’s State of the Union Tweet-Up, ADP and TDC have partnered with GVH Live and iCitizen to produce an interactive forum centered on live coverage of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address. The forum will stream live on, and feature live-polling from iCitizen and reactions from faculty and students on ADP and TDC campuses.

GVH Live is a digital media start-up that strives to provide a platform for the millennial generation to express and debate views on politics, culture, society and economics. iCitizen is a polling application built to empower all citizens by giving them a real voice on the issues and legislation they find most important. Together with ADP and TDC, these organizations intend to bring you live event coverage that is interactive, educational and engaging.

The event’s coverage will focus on four major topics—income inequality, criminal justice, immigration and education. Discussion of each issue will feature an interview with an expert on the topic, broadcast live from a college campus in the D.C. area, and a Google Hangout that will bring the conversation to faculty and students on ADP and TDC campuses.

We encourage you to follow the livestream, which will be hosted on, and participate through Twitter. Specifically, we are encouraging ADP and TDC campuses to hold State of the Union Address Watch Events so that students, faculty, staff and community members can discuss together their perceptions of the state of our nation and the work we need to do as informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. Livestream events will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, January 20th and end at approximately 11 p.m. Eastern.

More information will be forthcoming.

TDC Event: Advancing Civic Learning in Online and Virtual Space Webinar on 10.28.14

Next week, on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at 3:30 p.m. EST, The Democracy Commitment and the American Democracy Project have teamed up with the Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University to offer a special webinar to our member institutions.

Advancing Civic Learning in Online and Virtual Spaces will be an interactive and participant-led webinar and learning experience related to designing online and virtual courses that include an academic service-learning component.

Eric Hartman, Brandon Kliewer, and Chance Lee from the Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University will facilitate this learning experience. Participants will develop their thinking around how to systematically design online and virtual courses that include academic service-learning that maximizes student learning. Although the course design process is relevant to a range of disciplinary and topical learning outcomes, this session will focus on dimensions of intercultural competence. As a result of this webinar, participants will be able to design online and virtual courses and programs that advance intercultural competence.

To register for the webinar, please sign-up via this Google Doc:

To join the meeting on October 28th, click this AdobeConnect link:

For meeting audio, dial 1-866-642-1665 and enter 499385 as the participant code.