Campus Life

Big Ten Voting Challenge aims to boost student voter turnout across the country

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Member institutions of the Big Ten Conference are partnering on a voting challenge to spur civic engagement and encourage more students across the nation to head to the polls on Election Day.

The Big Ten Voting Challenge is a nonpartisan initiative that seeks to increase voter registration and turnout among college students on all 14 Big Ten campuses.

“One of the most important values we teach at our universities is the importance of civic engagement. Voting in elections gives our students a voice in the democratic process and in the decisions that affect local, state and national issues,” says a letter signed by all Big Ten university presidents and chancellors.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, 21 percent of those under age 30 turned out to vote in 2014, compared with 36 percent overall. Turnout on university campuses across the country was even lower, at 19 percent.

The Big Ten Voting Challenge, which launches Sept. 17 in recognition of Constitution Day, seeks to accelerate existing and inspire new efforts to help mobilize registration and turnout efforts on each campus.

The presidents across the Big Ten Conference have each pledged $10,000 to be used on their respective campus to promote student public engagement.

After the 2018 election, trophies will go to two universities — the one with the highest eligible voter turnout and the one with the most improved turnout compared to 2014.

Penn State students can register to vote at

Last Updated September 17, 2017