Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Secretary of State of California Weber to Recognize Chico State with Civic Engagement Honor

Sophia Gelsman uses an official ballot box that is placed in front the Bell Memorial Union (BMU).
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Sophia Gelsman uses an official ballot box that is placed in front the Bell Memorial Union (BMU) on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU, Chico)

Secretary of State of California Shirley Weber will visit Chico State on Thursday to recognize the University’s civic engagement efforts last year to promote voter participation.

Proceedings will begin at 9:30 a.m. inside Bell Memorial Union, Room 203, with a welcome address from University President Gayle Hutchinson followed by a greeting from Associated Students President Duncan Young, after which Weber will bestow the trophy to the University in an event that will be closed to the public.

“I am proud of all of California’s higher education institutions, the students and staff who participated in the 2021 Ballot Bowl who worked to register California college students to vote,” said Secretary of State Weber. “I congratulate Chico State on their well-deserved win, and I look forward to continuing our office’s work toward creating a democracy inclusive of student voices.”

In the run-up to the 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, voters were urged to get out and make their voices heard—and for many of the state’s college students, this election served as their first opportunity to register to vote and cast ballots.

In its efforts to promote civic engagement among its student body, Chico State worked tirelessly to register as many students as possible. As part of its promotion, the University competed in Ballot Bowl, a friendly, two-week-long competition among the state’s two- and four-year colleges and universities that was coordinated by the Office of the Secretary of State.

The University registered 166 students, the highest tally of any higher education institution throughout California, becoming Ballot Bowl’s Overall Champion. Cal State Long Beach was a distant second in the California State University category with 99.

Other category-leading institutions were UC Los Angeles (in the University of California category) with 71 students registered; Stanford University (Independent Colleges and Universities) with 113; and Santa Monica College (California Community Colleges) with 57.

Ann Schulte, director of the Office of Civic Engagement, helped lead the charge and implemented a number of strategies, including increased social media outreach, reminders at booths located across campus during the first two weeks of the fall 2021 semester, and change-of-address reminder cards for students—which also urged them to register to vote.

Schulte said college can be an uncertain time for young adults when registering to vote—for example, some are unsure whether to register in their home county or the county where they attend school.

“The work of civic engagement is to engage students, no matter the service region,” she said. “Voting is one way to get educated about the community you’re living in—that’s basic civic engagement.”

Most importantly, said Schulte, is that students who are eligible register to vote, no matter their service region, so that they feel their voices and opinions are valued—and for college students, that can be a very personal matter.

“It’s important to think about where you want to be a community member, where you want to have your voice heard—and the Ballot Bowl competition helps to keep civic engagement top of mind,” Schulte said. “Getting the opportunity to meet Secretary of State Weber and to hear about all the ways to get engaged will be really motivating.”

Leading up to the 2020 General Election, Chico State also earned Ballot Bowl honors as the CSU campus registering the largest percentage of its student body, with 1,383 total registrations.

Those who require accommodation in order to attend the trophy ceremony or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.