Aggie SGA-AG Pushes Campus Student Voter Engagement – GDN Exclusive, Vol. II, Part XXIVby Cash Michaels, GDN Contributing Writer October 11, 2019
Brenda Caldwell is the attorney general for N.C. A&T University’s Student Government Association. But the Greensboro native, junior and Political Science major has also, since the beginning of the semester in August, registered 388 students to vote, mostly freshmen, and plans to continue those efforts for the rest of the academic year.
“I reached out to some freshmen studies professors – it’s a required course for them – and also a biology course that is required for freshmen biology students,” she told Greater Diversity News (GDN).
Being a Lewis and Elizabeth Dowdy scholar, Caldwell has also registered fellow members of that program. The SGA also sponsored special voter registration tables for students, especially on National Voter Registration Day when tables were out in the Student Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When told about “A Call to Colors,” the student civic engagement strategy targeting HBCU students on North Carolina campuses with voter registration, education and mobilization efforts through campus alumna and Divine Nine chapters, local NAACP branches, faith-based institutions and other community-based organizations, Ms. Caldwell said she was open to learn more. Based on her current on-campus voter civic engagement activities, the SGA – AG is well along in helping her fellow students to empower themselves in time for the 2020 elections.
From Sept. 30th to Oct. 3rd was Fall Political Action Week, where they expected to see a block party brimming with voter registration tables, a “Fireside Chat” where students would be discussing North Carolina’s recent gerrymandering cases (including how NC A&T’s campus was literally split in half by North Carolina’s most recent congressional gerrymandering map that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to address last June); the upcoming 2020 Census; and “Food Insecurity” in the Greensboro community; and a community organizations fair.
One key issue Ms. Caldwell is tackling is getting an early voting site assigned again to NC A&T’s campus.
“We had one in previous years, and it was taken away,” she told GDN while attending the Fourth Annual NC College Voter Summit at Elon University on Sept. 20th.
“So we had a petition called “Let Aggies Vote,” and we’ve been attending Board of elections meetings to ask them to give that back to us, because it’s a lot easier for students who aren’t registered, to register and vote at the same time if they had an early voting site on campus.”
Brenda Caldwell is clear that her fellow students at NC A&T University must have a voice in who is elected to represent them in office, and the issues that concern them and their futures. Through student civic engagement, and hopefully, “A Call to Colors,” Ms. Caldwell’s hard work and keen vision will soon be realized.