Gallaudet University received the 2022 Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition Award for Contributing to an Equitable Democracy on December 8. The university was recognized for creating and executing a groundbreaking action plan for nonpartisan student voter engagement that features bilingual approaches to civic engagement programming, including the production of a voter education guide in American Sign Language, several ASL voter registration booths, a Deaf DJ, and a high-level ASL analysis of election coverage on television.

SLSV recognized 11 exemplary organizations for their extraordinary, nonpartisan efforts to make voting easier, more accessible, and more equitable for college students in their communities and throughout the United States.

Young and college student voters showed up in force in 2022, which saw one of the highest youth voter turnout rates ever in a midterm election, according to Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). 

The awards, given to leaders at the national, state, local and college campus levels, were announced at the closing ceremony of the SLSV Coalition’s annual Post-Election Gathering on December 8, a three-day event which featured keynote addresses by Dr. Nasser H. Paydar, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, and Hannah Bristol, Senior Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement. 

“The 2022 SLSV Award recipients exemplify the guiding principles that have fueled the growth and success of the nonpartisan student vote movement,” said SLSV Coalition co-founder and Executive Director Clarissa Unger. “Each of them performed amazing work that made a tangible difference in the lives and experiences of voters in 2022. We are proud to count them as partners, along with hundreds more organizations doing the work every day to help college students make their voices heard in our democracy…Thank you for all of your incredible work this year to register, educate, and mobilize student voters, and to ensure they have access to the process. We’re inspired by all you do and excited to recognize your efforts!” 

The SLSV Coalition is the national hub and largest nonpartisan network in the United States dedicated to increasing college student voter participation. The Coalition convenes and connects partners, campuses, and students with each other and with resources and programming towards achieving a vision of ensuring that every student has easy and equal access to participate in every election. They use data, relationships, celebration, and easy-to-follow planning structures, to help campus and local leaders register and turnout more student voters every year. The SLSV Coalition is a project of NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy is strictly nonpartisan, and does not support or oppose any candidate or party.

Dr. Brendan Stern, executive director of the Center for Democracy in Deaf America, accepted the award on Gallaudet’s behalf. He said, “The common problem facing us today is not that deaf Americans do not hear and speak, but that Americans do not have enough opportunities to listen and engage across differences in a divided country…It may be the last day of the SLSV celebration today but our work is not finished. On behalf of Gallaudet University, we look forward to engaging, and even disagreeing and debating, with you all for a more equitable democracy.” 

Stern also expressed his appreciation to President Cordano, Athletic Director Warren Keller, Student Engagement and Leadership Director Michelle Gerson-Wagner;  fellow faculty members Amy Stevens, Jeff Miller, and Sean Maiwald; and CDDA Ambassador for Civic Engagement Romel Thurman.

The 2022 SLSV Awards and their recipients were: 

  • Advancing Student Success and Retention: SUNY Oswego
  • Centering and Trusting Local Leaders: Student PIRGs New Voters Project
  • Collaborating for Greater Impact: The Office of the California Secretary of State 
  • Committing to Racial Justice: APIA Vote
  • Investing in Institutionalization: Salem State University
  • Leading through Nonpartisanship: All Vote No Play 
  • Removing Barriers and Increasing Access – Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office
  • Making Democracy Fun and Celebratory: Central Lakes College Student Senate and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) 
  • Contributing to an Equitable Democracy: Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and Gallaudet University

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