Student group recognized at February Board of Trustees meeting

The Bear CLAWS designee announced at the February board meeting is Vote Everywhere, a student group which supports voter education and engagement on college and university campuses. 

CLAWS, an acronym for Celebrating the Lofty Achievements of our Wonderful Students, is awarded to one or more exceptional students or recognized student organizations during regularly scheduled board meetings. 

Vote Everywhere is a chapter of a national organization devoted to fostering student leadership of nonpartisan civic engagement. Established in January 2018, the group is also known as Bears at the Ballot. 

President Houston Davis, Annabelle Van Asche and Lesley Graybeal

President Houston Davis, Annabelle Van Asche and Lesley Graybeal

UCA’s Vote Everywhere team hosted more than 30 drives and registered more than 500 new voters. Annabelle Van Asche and Jonas Munson serve as the two student ambassadors for the group. Van Asche is a senior from Siloam Springs, and Munsen is a sophomore from Alexandria, Virginia. Munsen, a center on the UCA men’s basketball team, was unable to attend the board meeting because of a road game. 

“I think it’s really important for the campus because I think students need to get out in using their right to vote,” Van Asche said. “A lot of students our age believe their vote doesn’t matter, or they just don’t think it’s not worth it. Our age group, 18 to 29 year-olds, have the lowest voting record. So we’re really trying to change that thought behind it.”

Van Asche and Munsen coordinate monthly voter registration drives, partner with other student organizations and departments to offer voter education programming and host celebrations of civic holidays, such as national voter registration day and vote early day. 

In the most recent 2022 election cycle the Vote Everywhere ambassadors prepared students for the midterm elections through information sessions and training eight other student organizations and campus departments to conduct their own voter registration drives. Vote Everywhere also worked with the Faulkner County Clerk to ensure student voter registration forms were completed correctly.

Van Asche and Vote Everywhere advisor Lesley Graybeal accepted the CLAWS award on the group’s behalf.