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Alverno College’s Poll Worker Project Wins State-wide Award

Date Released: March 6 2014

Alverno College’s Poll Worker Project has been awarded Wisconsin Campus Compact’s 2014 Esther Letven Campus-Community Partnership Award. This award recognizes outstanding partnerships between higher education and the community that produce measurable community impact as well as student growth and learning.

Nearly 200 Alverno College students were actively involved in the political process as they trained to be poll workers for the 2012 presidential election. The training provided students an opportunity to practice their own effective citizenship, one of the eight abilities embedded in the Alverno curriculum.

“Effective citizenship means our students take an active role in civic life,” said Susan Leister, director of Alverno’s Internship office and the coordinator of the Poll Worker Project. “Taking part in the election process really opened their eyes to the rigorous work that goes into running an election, and to the responsibility they have to vote.”

In partnership with the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, Alverno has offered poll worker training sessions on campus for three presidential or mid-term elections; the first was for the 2008 presidential election. In 2010, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission awarded Alverno a grant to train students as poll workers. The grant was one of only 15 awarded nationally in a competition that drew more than 200 proposals. It made it possible for Alverno and the Election Commission to recruit and train students – including Spanish-speaking students – to help with election activities and recruit future poll workers. Poll worker responsibilities include greeting voters, verifying voters’ polling sites, registering new voters, handing out ballots, handling voting machines, and helping to maintain traffic flow at the sites.

The Alverno College Poll Worker Project and its partner, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, will be honored at the Wisconsin Campus Compact Annual Civic Engagement Institute on March 20 in Madison.