Looking to build on its success from the 2008 presidential election, the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University is creating a statewide network of students dedicated to voter empowerment in the 2012 election and beyond.

The Student Engagement and Empowerment Network (SEEN), made up of students from 10 historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina, will hold its inaugural conference Nov. 10 – 12 at NCCU. The mission is to allow students to share ideas, communication and training on how to mobilize young voters. Community organizing will center on the individual campuses, but it will also spread to adjacent communities with a special focus on black and Latino youth who are not in college.

Dr. Jarvis Hall, director for the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change, said the goal is to create voter empowerment that lasts a lifetime.

“The group we are targeting, 18- to 24-year-olds, are just entering the electorate, so there is a lot of work to be done in terms of registration, education and awareness,” Hall said. “We want them to be continuously engaged in the democratic process. We want their interest in politics to extend down to state and local elections.”

In the 2008 election, the institute registered 300 new voters and helped boost voter turnout to 90 percent in the precinct that includes NCCU. An awareness march on campus during the first day of early voting drew more than 2,000 participants.

Brett Stargell, a senior majoring in political science and history, and a founding member of SEEN, said network members will learn from models that work, develop questionnaires and voter guides, organize voter registration drives and campaigns, and more. SEEN will offer incentives for schools that register the most voters. Read Full Article at NCCU