Ohio Northern University has been designated a “Voter Friendly Campus” by the Voter Friendly Campus initiative, which encourages college students to participate in the political process.

ONU is part of a select group of universities nationwide to earn this honor and one of only eight campuses in Ohio.

“Your institution’s efforts to break down barriers and empower students with the information and tools they need to participate in the political process take the idea of the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to participate in our democracy and turn it to action,” stated Debi Lombardi, national field director of the Campus Vote Project, in a letter announcing the honor.

To earn this designation, ONU developed and implemented a plan last fall in conjunction with the presidential election. The effort involved faculty, staff and students from across the University. Political science students spearheaded many of the activities, particularly students involved with College Democrats and College Republicans. 

Receiving this designation is a significant first step to greater civic engagement for the ONU community, according to Robert Alexander, chair of the Department of History, Politics and Justice at Ohio Northern. “Our students represent the future of the country, and their understanding of and involvement in the political process are essential to the nation’s success.” 

Among the events the University held to engage students with the political process were:

  • A debate in which ONU political science students represented the views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
  • Sessions in which ONU students helped Ada High School students learn about the issues and helped eligible students register to vote
  • Voter registration drives throughout the fall semester
  • “Watch parties” to view the presidential debates, hosted by Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society
  • An election watch party held as the results rolled in the night of Nov. 8

The Voter Friendly Campus initiative is led by nonpartisan organizations Campus Vote Project and NASA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.