KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville was recognized by the Secretary of State for its efforts during the Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville won the award for Most Creative Voter Registration Campaign. UTK is one of two schools that was recognized in a special category for its unique campaign. The other school, East Tennessee State University, won Best Social Media Campaign.
“They challenged the University of Florida to a voter registration drive. They had 100 volunteers that stepped up to help register their fellow students. They had all kinds of activities, speaking events, the Vols Vote program, did a video alongside the University of Florida. All kinds of really cool things that they did all trying to get people to register to vote. It’s really the students using their spears of influence to get their fellow students registered that really makes a difference,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
“One of their top strengths is restorative, they want to solve problems. So the idea of competing with Florida, when we set up this competition no one thought we would beat them on the football field. Now they have twice as many students as us so we didn’t quite get as many registered voters, but next time we might be able to do that as well,” said UTK Chancellor Donde Plowman.
The competition took place during National Voter Registration Month in September as a part of an effort by the Secretary of State to encourage more college students to register to vote. From the contest, more than 1,000 students registered to vote at 37 colleges and universities across the state.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett presented to award to UTK on Wednesday, Jan. 25 in Knoxville.
“Congratulations to the winning schools but the real winner in this competition is the State of Tennessee, because our state and nation are stronger when all eligible voters engage in the electoral process,” said Hargett. “Thank you to all the students and administrators who supported this competition and helped their fellow students register to vote.”
“When voting comes around again, I would love to engage our students in another kind of competition, maybe it’s Florida, maybe it’s Georgia. I think it’s a great way throughout the SEC to encourage all young people, ‘think about this your vote matters,'” said Plowman.
The College Voter Registration Competition began in 2015.