Butler County Community College has earned a state award for its students' dedication to voting.
BC3 was one of 65 colleges and universities to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of State 2021 PA Campus Voting Challenge program, and one of just eight to win an award.
“(The winning schools) are to be commended for caring enough about our country to educate their peers about our electorial system and encourage them to register to vote,” said acting state Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid.
Case Willoughby, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at BC3, said the college earned a silver seal for its level of student voter participation and was recognized for most improved voter turnout among the state's community colleges.
“I'm delighted,” he said. “Education is certainly about preparing students for the next step in their lives, but also preparing them for being a citizen.”
He said the voting rate at the school for the 2020 election was 68.3%.
That rate for all institutions was 66%, and the rate for schools that offer associate degrees was just 56%.
Also, Willoughby said, the voting rate among BC3 students in the 2016 presidential election was 59%.
Willoughby said voting has been promoted at BC3 through the Student Life Office's involvement email sent weekly to students during the pandemic last year.
Because only 40% to 42% of classes were in-person in the last school year, the email was upgraded to keep the college connected with its students, Willoughby said.
Information on voter registration and finding polling places frequently appeared in the publication, Willoughby said.
“We also presented issues and nonpartisan resources to get information,” he said.
The League of Women Voters came to campus twice before the 2020 election to help students register to vote, and on Constitution Day the school set up a booth with Constitution trivia and prizes.
The winning colleges and universities were recognized at a virtual PA Campus Voting Challenge awards ceremony on Tuesday.