BENTON TOWNSHIP — The “ALL IN Campus Challenge” silver seal award was given to Lake Michigan College, which doubled the number of students who vote from 17 percent in 2014 to 35 percent in 2018.

The award was given Nov. 12 at a Washington, D.C., ceremony sponsored by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a nonpartisan, national initiative the encourages students to vote, according to a news release from the organization. The challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizens and to make participation a core value on their campus.  

LMC was among the 149 colleges and universities recognized for achieving a student voter participation rate between 30 and 39 percent in the 2018 midterm.

“LMC’s mission is to empower people and communities to thrive through education, innovation and experiences,” said LMC President Trevor Kubatzke in the news release. “This award exemplifies what can happen when our college community works together on a common goal – to reduce apathy, increase engagement and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the country’s, and the world’s, most pressing challenges.”

The effort was spearheaded by LMC Political Science Professor Tiffany Bohm, who began teaching a new course about campaigns and elections in the fall of 2018. 

Bohm also led “LMC Votes,” the college’s first ever campus-wide voter registration and get out the vote campaign resulting in over 100 newly registered voters and a national “Voter Friendly Campus” designation for the college in 2019-20. 

“We’re proud to be among institutions throughout the country that are changing campus culture by promoting nonpartisan civic engagement efforts,” said Bohm. “Our goal is to help all students become active and informed citizens, who will participate responsibly in American democracy throughout their lifetimes.”

More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the ALL IN Campus Challenge since its launch in the summer 2016. Overall voter turnout for college students increased nationally more than two-fold between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education.