RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Many schools have canceled athletic activities on Election Day so that students and staff and focus on getting to the polls. Richmond and VCU both want to do more.
Both the Spiders and Rams have launched voting initiatives for student-athletes. The Rams Vote Initiative will include four registration drives at the Siegel Center, as well as voter education sessions. Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin says that speakers will hold sessions with student-athletes to provide insight on issues and voting information.
Students, staff and fans can take part in the voter registration drives at the Siegel Center on:
- Thursday, September 10 (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
- Tuesday, September 22: National Voter Registration Day (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
- Friday, October 9 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- Tuesday, October 13 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
The Spiders Vote Initiative encourages voter registration, education and participation for all Spider student-athletes, coaches and staff. This will also include information on voter registration and provide virtual educational sessions with Spider student-athletes throughout the fall semester. This programming will focus on important issues such as voting rights and historical perspectives on civic engagement.
Both VCU and Richmond have seen their respective student-athletes as a big part in pushing for the initiative. The Student Athlete Advisory Councils at both universities are assisting the athletic departments. Administrators at each institution are happy to see their student-athletes be so proactive.
“I’m so thankful that I have a group of student-athletes who want to be part of change in this country,” McLaughlin said. “Not only be part of change, but also to document, memorialize, record their role in that change.”
“I love to see them use the platforms that they have to make a difference,” added Lauren Wicklund, Richmond’s associate director of athletics for leadership development. “It’s so important, and it’s so special to watch them grow in that way. Sports is about life, it really is, and I think this is just a really exciting way for them to have their voices heard.”
The Rams and Spiders also want to emphasize that voting is a privilege that goes far beyond presidential elections. Local elections make a huge difference, as do amendments and laws that can appear on ballots. Both programs want student-athletes to understand the voting process, to make educated and informed decisions for many elections to come.
“My hope is that we create a generation of students who are really engaged in the voting process, and they’re well-educated about it, and they take it seriously,” McLaughlin said. “We are lucky to live in a country that you can do this.”
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. VCU and Richmond are two of the schools that will not have any athletic activities on that day.
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