Civic Education Events
Check out these event ideas and make them a reality with our event planning checklist and guide for hosting a guest speaker.
Pajama Jam (by Green River Community College)
Bacon, eggs, and voters please! Wake up in the morning to the smell of democracy by inviting an elected official or county elections staff member to partake in a pancake breakfast with your student body. Students can come comfortable in their PJs, enjoy breakfast, and a few words from your guest speaker before class. This is an especially great event for commuter campuses, and if you’re not a morning person keep in mind everyone loves breakfast for dinner!
Trick-or-Vote (by Central Washington University)
Halloween is just days before the general election. Put on a fun costume, visit classrooms, and go door-to-door in the dorms reminding everyone to vote. You can also set up a “remember to vote” station in Red Square wearing your craziest costume. You’ll be sure to draw a crowd!
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Votes (by Heritage University)
Get students to pledge to vote with an “I Will Vote” photo contest! Have people submit photos that in some way feature the words “I Will Vote.” You can even enter your photos on the statewide I Will Vote photo contest site! Ask an elected official to select the winners and make sure all photographers are on-hand so your guest judge can award the winner(s). After the contest, display the entries in the cafeteria, or other highly trafficked area. This is a great way to showcase the talents of all participants while encouraging others to vote.
Civics Jeopardy (by Yakima Valley Community College)
Invite an elected official to Alex Trebek it as game show host on your campus. Play with singles or in teams. Have a campus TV channel? Ask if your game show can be aired! Grab a projector and you’re ready to play. Check out our online Civics Jeopardy.
Civics in 60 Seconds (by Clover Park Technical College)
Okay, 60 seconds probably isn’t enough time, but just 10 minutes in front of a classroom can make a big difference. Invite an elected official to visit several classrooms and give a very brief talk to each about the importance of civic participation. Try to schedule visits to classrooms that are off the beaten path, (such as automotive, agricultural, or astronomy classes). Students in all fields of studies can benefit from additional civics education.
Civics Round Table (by Eastern Washington University)
Sometimes a small, intimate setting is better for real conversation. Invite an elected official or guest speaker to lunch with your student body officers and interested students and faculty. If there’s going to be a crowd, drum up interest by holding a drawing to see who will get to attend. Whether it’s catered or brown-bagged, you’re sure to get some fascinating anecdotes while you dine.
Hosting a registration drive?
Try one of the event ideas below! Make sure to use our College Civics Challenges and voter registration guide to prep your team for the big drive!
Back to School Blitz
It's the first week of school and everybody is registering for classes, moving into their dorms, getting campus mailboxes, and setting up their school email accounts. Talk to the Registrar or Residence Life about including a voter registration form with student check-in packets. Put a form in every student mailbox. You can also ask the President's office to send an all-campus email with a link to online voter registration.
Voter Palooza Concert
Live music always draws a crowd, which is perfect if you're trying to register voters. Hire a band or ask to participate in a concert already in the works. Interrupt occasionally with a quick reminder about the importance of voting, and point out your table with voter registration materials. Send your team into the crowd with clipboards and register new voters on the spot.
Grand Slam Voter Drive
Get your game on and get to your school's big sports event. Start off the event with a word from a guest speaker such as your county auditor or state legislator, then send your team into the stands with clipboards and voter registration forms. Use your home field advantage to interview your team's players at halftime and ask them why they think it's important to vote. Prepare your players with the questions before the game and use a microphone so the whole stadium can hear their answers.
Be a Voter Registration Freeloader
Team up with an existing event. Concert in Red Square? Barbeque on the field? If there’s something on campus that’s sure to draw a crowd, get on board! Set up a table with voter registration information, send your team into the crowd with an iPad, mobile device, or clipboard to register voters on the spot, and arrange for a legislator or elections official to speak during the event if possible.