CHER team members Joe Barber and Carlos Espinosa led TrinVotes, a college-wide, non-partisan voter education effort in the run up to the 2020 general election. And through the Community Action Gateway, Trinity first-year students partnered with Hartford organizations on voter mobilization efforts. Read more about CHER’s involvement in voter engagement.
Fostering engaged voters among the Trinity and Hartford communities was an important focus for CHER this fall. Joe Barber, Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, along with Carlos Espinosa, Director of Trinfo Cafe and the Office of Community Relations, served as leaders of TrinVotes this year. According to Joe, “We create and provide opportunities for community service and civic engagement in part for students to understand that citizenship is an active existence that transcends mere national identity. It is a philosophy and a way of life that demands positive involvement in the civic sphere by all of us. Free and fair voting is one of the foundational tenets of such a system.”
TrinVotes is a nonpartisan initiative announced by President Joanne Berger Sweeney in February 2020, which aims to encourage the Trinity community to vote by making voting more accessible and by educating the community about upcoming elections. The committee consisted of 26 faculty, staff, and students this year. TrinVotes distributed voter information to faculty, staff, and students, and hosted a number of events aimed at fostering informed and engaged voters, including a phone bank on October 27, 2020, the last day to register to vote in Connecticut. More than a dozen other events were hosted or promoted by TrinVotes this fall, evidence of the commitment of the campus to encouraging everyone eligible to turn out to vote.
In addition to the diligent work of the TrinVotes coalition, students in the Community Action Gateway first year seminar course “Envisioning Social Change” worked with community partners on voter engagement projects this semester. Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Stefanie Wong said, “The course allows students to gain a deeper understanding of social inequity and systematic oppression and learn from and alongside community organizations in the Hartford area that are working to challenge inequities and work for social change.” (Quote from Trinity news article by Emma Sternberg ’21). Three out of five groups in the class worked with community partners focused on voting. Students worked with the Hartford Votes-Hartford Vota Coalition, Blue Ribbon Strategies, and Moral Monday CT on social media projects related to voting.
We’re proud of the work our team and students put in this semester to encourage everyone in our community to be informed, aware, and engaged in the election this year.