Otterbein Launches #otterbeinVOTES Initiative in Time for November Election

Posted Sep 18, 2020

The Otterbein University Center for Community Engagement (CCE) is partnering with groups across campus to encourage student voter registration, awareness, and electoral participation with its new #otterbeinVOTES initiative this fall. The kick-off for #otterbeinVOTES on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, brought more than 100 people to table to learn more about voting in Ohio. 

“The #otterbeinVOTES campaign is a cross-campus, non-partisan effort to mobilize our students to participate in the political process, educate themselves about the candidates and issues, and vote in 2020,” said CCE Director Melissa Gilbert. “During the pandemic, our students have to think carefully about HOW to vote. We are asking students to develop a ‘voting plan’ to vote by mail with an absentee ballot, vote early or vote in person.’ 


Also at the launch event, the non-partisan student group Raise Your Voice hosted a hands-on exploration of the Constitution. Students wrote the parts of the Constitution that are of interest or important to them on brightly colored post-its and placed them onto a board to create a community piece of art.  

More events are planned leading up to the election on Nov. 3: 

  • The CCE will have a tent each week when early voting begins on Tuesday, Oct. 6, to help students navigate to the early voting center in Franklin County. The #otterbeinVOTES team will help with directions and have a van to transport students, two at a time, to the location. 
  • Otterbein will host debate watch parties with a limited in-person, socially distanced audience and the opportunity to livestream from home as part of the Ohio Debate Commission’s university outreach effort in conjunction with the national Commission on Presidential Debates’ DebateWatch2020 initiative. 
  • Otterbein’s coaches and athletes are taking an arial photo of the athletes spelling out the word VOTE on the stadium field — standing six feet apart and wearing facial coverings. The photo will be used to promote student voter participation as part of the OAC Votes campaign and competition.  
  • Faculty and staff are visiting classes to teach students about the voting process.  
  • Otterbein has two teams of student fellows that are working on campus to promote student engagement: three Democracy Fellows and two Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) Fellows. Both groups are funded by their national parent organizations. 

One of the defining characteristics of Otterbein and our students is the commitment to working toward the common good and making sure we all play a part in shaping the world in which we live — including safeguarding Constitutional and democratic rights for everyone. 

“Our students are deeply concerned about the issues facing their generation and are ready to work on getting their community to head to the polls this November to ensure that their voices are heard,” Gilbert said.