St. Kate’s “Voter Van” gave students free rides to the poll
Organized by the Center for Community, Work and Learning, St. Kate's “voter van” transported 97 students to the local polling location at Hillcrest Recreation Center. This is the fifth year this popular free service has been provided for students.
While many students this year were first-time voters, others were repeat users like Denyce Alvarez ’16 who first used the free shuttle service during the 2012 Presidential election year.
“Voting on Tuesday gave me a sense of power that I can create a change in my community. It was such a great experience to practice my right to vote,” says Alvarez.
The shuttle ran every 30 minutes while the polls were open. Lunchtime and evening hours saw peak usage among students like Alvarez, who faced demanding class schedules on Tuesday.
“I went right after classes and was glad the vans were still running because it had been a busy day and I didn’t have time in the morning to go,” she adds.
Several groups and events contributed to the robust turn out, including voter registration efforts by the student group MPIRG, Residence Life’s promotion and treats, and events like Nuns on the Bus, which generated buzz about voting and civic engagement.
“I am proud of all our work in encouraging students to be engaged citizens within the broader community,” says D’Ann Ubaniak Lesch, assistant director, Center for Community Work and Learning. “Voting is one of the many ways our students impact and are part of our democracy.”
In addition to utilizing the free shuttle service, organizers say numerous students voted absentee or returned to their home towns to cast their ballots.