By GALEN HAWES
ADA – For the sixth consecutive year, an East Central University professor has registered the largest percentage of students on campus to vote than any other Oklahoma colleges or universities of similar size.
Dr. Christine Pappas, a Political Science and Legal Studies professor at ECU, and her students registered 288 new voters this fall, or 9.4% of the full-time enrolled student body.
“The top priority is for more Oklahomans to be registered to vote,” said Pappas. “The students take over and are campus experts on voter registration.”
Every year since 2004, Pappas has assigned each of her American Government and Honors Class students to register at least three people on campus to vote. Students who register more than three new voters earn bonus points. In the past six years alone, Pappas estimates her classes have registered more than 2,000 ECU students to vote.
“The more voters who participate, the more the government reflects what the people want,” Pappas said. “I hope people go further after registration and vote.”
Pappas and her students were recognized as winners in the annual Oklahoma Campus Compact Voter Registration Contest. With its 9.4%, ECU easily placed first among state institutions of higher learning with enrollment between 3,001 and 7,000. Rose State College was runner-up in the contest with 5.9%. There are eight contest categories based on campus populations.
“I think this class assignment empowers the students to learn more about their democratic government,” Pappas said. “Many students aren’t registered to vote. So not only can they register themselves, they can become leaders and encourage their peers to register.”
Students, staff, faculty and administrators from the eight winning institutions will be recognized for their efforts at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education meeting on December 5.