Celebrating Election Heroes

UC Santa Cruz students and Sammy with the Santa Cruz County Voter Registration team.

November 6 was Election Hero Day, a civic holiday honoring the heroes of American democracy. UC Santa Cruz wants to celebrate the tremendous contributions our students have made, ensuring a safe, secure, and accessible voting experience for everyone in the campus community.

We would like to recognize the staff at SOMeCA and all of the student organizations that contributed and participated in the “Make a Note to Vote” campaign last year for the 2022 elections, which include:

  1. E² Engaging Education
  2. Umoja
  3. CUSN: Community Unified Student Network
  4. KAMP Kuya-Ate Mentorship Program 
  5. City on a Hill Press 
  6. Black Student Union UCSC
  7. APISA: Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance
  8. Bayanihan at UC Santa Cruz
  9. ChA.L.E. de UCSC 
  10. Mecha de UCSC
  11. Student Alliance of North American Indians (SANAI)

Some examples of the work that these groups did for the campaign included the creation of T-shirts that had QR codes for voter registration information which were distributed freely to students. Students also tabled and spread the word at campus events like Cornucopia. In the fall of 2022, they hosted the This is Our Future: Take Back the Vote event with special guest speaker, UC Santa Cruz Alumni, Tiffany Dena Loftin, who discussed the importance of spreading the word about the coming election and the role that student organizations can have on its outcome. 

As a direct result of the student engagement efforts and support of SOMeCA staff in supporting student agency in voter engagement efforts, UC Santa Cruz was one of only 3 UC campuses and one of only 121 campuses in the country to earn the inaugural distinction of the Highly Established Action Plan Seal for the 2022 election by the All In Campus Democracy Challenge. Additionally, The UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement has also recognized these student organizations and SOMeCA staff in the 2024 Valuing Open and Inclusive Conversation and Engagement (VOICE) Initiative that highlights UC campus projects focused on creating and strengthening opportunities for students, staff and faculty to impact their UC campus communities. UC Santa Cruz was awarded the Gold Award and $5,000 in funding to continue the work.

Katherine Canales-Molina, Associate Director of SOMeCA, wrote in the VOICE initiative proposal, “Student engagement in local, state, and national elections is far from being constant. It has peaks and valleys, despite the many political issues that concern students deeply. This project will grow ongoing student civic engagement at UC Santa Cruz by building a cohort of students, utilizing the attention that will be generated by the upcoming general elections. We plan to build on our pilot program beginning with a kickoff event, a keynote speaker, facilitated dialogues, and workshops. The project will link on-the-ground issues that students experience in their everyday lives with national policies and platforms to inspire action and involvement. Following the kickoff event, we will establish a dynamic workgroup of student leaders that will experiment with fostering structures that support continuity in understanding and valuing democratic practices. The Student Civic Engagement workgroup will create new programming from the ideas generated by the dialogues and will draw lessons from the different forms of engagement that result.”

We thank our campus Election Heroes.

There are two major elections coming up in 2024. Please register to vote.