For 15 years, Common Cause NC has strengthened civic engagement at North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities through our HBCU Student Action Alliance. These students make their voices heard on campus, in the community, at the ballot box and in the halls of government.
With several organizations leading get-out-the-vote efforts at public and private Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) throughout the state, we focus our program on public and private HBCUs to elevate voices that are politically silenced by those in power. Over the years we’ve seen a decrease in funding for HBCUs and have witnessed the loss of civic engagement centers and professionals on campuses.
The reduction of these services causes institutions to be under-resourced to effectively mobilize students to the polls, host education initiatives, or foster conversation around civic engagement beyond electoral politics. This led us to creating the Student Action Alliance, engaging students at all ten of North Carolina’s HBCUs.
Our HBCU Student Action Alliance builds the next generation of democracy leaders through advancing their advocacy skills, leadership skills, and civic education. We train and equip students with the tools and hands-on knowledge they need to hold power accountable on their campus, in their community, and beyond.
A critical component of our HBCU Student Action Alliance is fostering a culture of civic engagement with students. This ensures that students can envision paths to be lifelong active participants in their government.
Many of our Democracy Fellows have continued their pro-democracy work with professions in the field.
Each year, the Student Action Alliance hires 1-2 students on each of the HBCU campuses as Democracy Fellows.
Common Cause NC provides training based on students’ professional interest and the skills they want to develop in 1) social media advocacy, 2) advocacy writing and public speaking, and 3) campaign planning and organizing.
Democracy Fellows work 10 hours per week to:
• Host campus events like National Voter Registration Day and “march to the polls” events to increase student participation in civic education efforts and voting
• Distribute information about the voting process (voter registration, requesting absentee ballots, accessing polling locations and voting early, etc.)
• Serve as election protection volunteers at campus precincts
• Recruit students for campus canvasses, phonebanks, and text banks
• Create issue-specific graphics and one-pagers with key information, facts, and statistics that help students feel informed
• Attend and participate in local civic meetings (city council, board of elections, campus administration, etc.).
• Write Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor on relevant issues of their choosing
In exchange, Democracy Fellows receive a $1000 stipend and $500 for campus program expenses each semester. Our full-time campus coordinators oversee their work.
Our Goal in 2022:
Your support is vital to our Democracy Fellows program as we empower a new generation of democracy leaders. Here’s how you can sponsor a Democracy Fellow:
• $5000 – Sponsorship for one Democracy Fellow (Stipend and project support for two semesters)
• $2500 – Partial Sponsorship of a Democracy Fellow (Stipend and project support for one semester)
• $_______ one time payment to support the program
• $_______ monthly support for the program
Contact April Harris, Development Manager