News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Herrera (202) 478-4665


Initiative Created to Cultivate Student Civic Engagement Post-2008 Election`

Washington, D.C. – According to a recent poll conducted by CBS News, UWIRE, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, 94 percent of students at four-year colleges in four battleground states — Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — said they were registered to vote. While pundits and campaigns alike are expecting a record-shattering turnout by student and young voters, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) American Democracy Project (ADP) is turning its focus to what happens after the election with the creation of the new Civic Agency Initiative, which hopes to extend student civic and political engagement beyond November 4.

In partnership with the Humphrey Institute’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship (CDC), the American Democracy Project will host the Civic Agency Institute November 5-7 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Institute will help campuses participating in ADP’s Civic Agency Initiative develop methods to harness the civic currency that has accumulated on the part of students during the 2008 election and cultivate a sense of continued efficacy and agency.

In addition to multiple sessions on organizing, the Institute will include a session on Institutional Investment in Civic Agency: Experiences from the Field and a panel discussion with undergraduate students. CDC Co-Director Harry Boyte, author of numerous books on civic engagement including The Citizen Solution: How You Can Make a Difference, will deliver the Institute’s keynote address on Thursday, November 6.

The Civic Agency Initiative, a three-year partnership between AASCU/ADP and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, seeks to deepen the civic identities of higher education, including new approaches to learning and associated engaged scholarship focused on questions of civic agency.

Initiative participants, all AASCU/ADP institutions, will create strategies and programs on university campuses and in surrounding communities to foster civic agency in undergraduates; design instruments and processes for measuring civic agency; and create campus-wide cultural change that strengthens community partnerships, civic learning and public scholarship.


AASCU is the leadership association of 420 public colleges and universities Delivering America’s Promise through their common commitments to access, affordability and educational opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students, these institutions fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their state.