Each September is recognized as Voter Registration Month and shines a spotlight on the vital role that young adults between the ages of 18-29 play in shaping the future with their votes. At Cumberland University, the significance of civic engagement is amplified as the campus community rallies behind the idea that college students should have a larger voice in the democratic process. CIRCLE estimates that the youth voter turnout in Tennessee for the 2022 midterm election is the lowest in the country at 12.7%. Cumberland’s Student Government Association (SGA) is trying to change that by helping students register to vote without even having to leave campus. This past month, Cumberland was named the Private University Winner of the College Voter Registration Competition for the second year in a row.
Cumberland University’s Student Body President, Arsheen Shroff, was recently invited to the Annual Voter Registration Luncheon hosted by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The recognition came after last year’s remarkable achievement when the SGA entered the competition late in the month, yet secured first place among private schools and a respectable third place out of all the participating universities in the state.
With the upcoming presidential primary election of 2024 on the horizon, members of SGA were determined to build on the previous year’s success. They seized the opportunity to reach Cumberland’s largest incoming freshmen class and embarked on a mission to attend all Foundations of Scholarship and Learning (FSL) classes, ensuring every freshman had the chance to register to vote.
Shroff’s commitment extended beyond freshmen, as she collaborated with the Provost and Deans to offer faculty resources for registering new upperclassmen voters.
“It is important for young adults to take their civic responsibility seriously,” said University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Bill McKee.
In partnership with the Wilson County Women’s Coalition and the Wilson County Election Commission, SGA operated a voter registration booth on campus every weekday throughout September. This collaboration aimed to equip students with the necessary information and clarity regarding the upcoming elections.
The collective efforts of Cumberland’s faculty and students reflect a commitment, not only to themselves, but also to their community. Through initiatives like these, Cumberland University takes meaningful steps toward unifying and empowering students to be active participants in the democratic process.
Secretary of State, Tre Hargett, will visit campus in the following months to congratulate Cumberland’s SGA for their efforts.
Provost Mckee shared his enthusiasm, saying, “I am grateful we’re able to host not only registration drives, but also Tennessee Secretary of State, Tre Hargett as he recognizes our university.”
Though Voter Registration Month has come to an end, our civic responsibilities continue. Cumberland will continue to share knowledge and encourage its community to register to vote.