Last fall, when Breanna Brown wanted to talk to her fellow students about voting, the then-freshman at Wayne State University would walk into a lecture hall (with the professor’s permission) and extol the virtues of civic participation before class started.
In between classes, she and other organizers would “table” in highly trafficked areas, and guide students as they filled out a voter registration form on a friend’s computer. “We would have everybody touching that laptop,” Brown said. “That’s nothing you would ever imagine now.”
Like most things during the pandemic era, the candidate forums, residence hall canvassing and other typical election season activity on college campuses has gone digital. As such, Brown, who works as a fellow for Rise, an advocacy organization focused on college affordability and other youth and student issues, has shifted her strategy from last year.
Now, she connects the interns she manages with resident advisors or other influencers on campus, to try and convince them to talk about voting with their networks. In between Zoom classes, the students Brown works with will send Instagram or Twitter direct messages to almost 50 people on some days hoping to discuss their voting plans — and maybe get a handful of responses.
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