Assisting with a voter registration programs through community outreach, implementing a high school civic engagement program, and advocacy on voting rights related issues.
Rock the Vote
After years of declining participation, young Americans ages 18 to 29 have increased their political participation at the polls, on the ground, and online for three election cycles in a row. Since its founding by members of the music industry 22 years ago, Rock the Vote (RTV) helped fuel this increased civic engagement by running the largest non-partisan youth voter registration drive in history, generating 2.6 million registration applications. RTV knows that the basic understanding of the political process – registering to vote and casting a ballot – is the largest barrier to civic participation for new and young voters. Once registered, young people vote (84 percent of registered 18-29 year olds cast a ballot in 2008 according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But only about 60 percent of young Americans are registered. The Summer Civic Engagement Program aims to address this gap.
RTV remains a trusted leader in reinvigorating democracy and redefining citizenship for this generation, building relationships with and activating a growing and diverse base of young voters, and ensuring that young voices are heard by those in power. In 2013, RTV will continue to simplify the electoral process for the Millennial generation, register new voters, and provide young people with opportunities to get involved in online and one-the-ground voter registration and turnout efforts. RTV will also reach potential voters before they turn 18 through a new high school civics education program and fight to protect the right to vote for all voters while promoting upgrades to our elections process.
Program #1: Voter Registration & Elections Program
RTV has run the largest youth voter registration efforts for the past six presidential election cycles. In 2013, students will be helping with our state and local election efforts. The summer will be an exciting time for Rock the Vote. Students may work in the following areas:
• Working with our Community Street Teams to coordinate voter registration and get-out-the-vote booths at concerts, music festivals, and various other events
• Working with our Community Street Teams to train them on registration drives, building their networks and groups, and organizing events
• Working with Rock the Vote partners to have an on the ground presence in key election locations
• Representing Rock the Vote at various conferences, briefings, coalition meetings and events.
• Updating all election-related information from registration deadlines to what is on the ballot in order to provide resources to our audience for voting.
Program #2: High School Civics Program
Over the past 30 years, civics education has been systematically cut from public schools. Opportunities to learn about politics and government are rare, and programs to register newly eligible high school students are not widespread. To address this shortcoming, in 2009, RTV launched a civics education program targeting 16 to 18 year olds in high schools across the country to bring them into the political process and encourage involvement at an early age. The program specifically focuses on high schools with students populations that are less likely to matriculate to a four-year college or university. Students will:
• Assist with outreach to civics program partners, including target high schools, local and state elections officials, and thought leaders
• Coordinate and conduct trainings for instructors
• Conduct in-class sessions of the program in D.C.-area high schools
• Help with the development and maintenance of an online portal that tracks and manages the continued engagement of high school civics participants
Program #3: Voting Rights Program
Rock the Vote is committed to protecting the right of all citizens to vote, and advocating for a modern electoral system that meets the needs of voters today. Students involved in this program will:
• Conduct analysis of any state laws to impact elections and help produce a state voting system Scorecard.
• Release to the media and conduct outreach to state elections officials around the Scorecard.
• Track ongoing legislation that impacts voting rights, and coordinate advocacy efforts around such laws, as well as provide on-going updates to our membership.
Placement opportunities that support all three programs:
• Drafting media lists, PR pitch letters, fact sheets and press kit materials
• Researching and compiling daily news clips and tracking key issues in the news
• Blogging about Rock the Vote updates, events, and youth related political issues
• Working with our Digital Director on building Rock the Vote’s social media platforms and promoting all above programs through innovative online organizing.
• Help update and edit the Rock the Vote website and other RTV public spaces to promote the above programs.
Fundraising/Development & Support to President of RTV:
• Drafting proposals and follow-up communications to donors, board members, and key supporters
• Researching new funding opportunities
• Maintaining a calendar for grant LOIs, requests, and reports
• Drafting regular donor communications with updates about RTV programming and efforts
• Maintaining the donor database and data entry
Program Requirements & Environmentals:
Language/Other Prerequisites: None
Reflection Sessions: Refection sessions are led by the program’s faculty-in-residence, Professor Kristin Goss, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science in the Sanford School of Public Policy. Students will hear from community leaders at required weekly forums and will have opportunities to participate in field trips, workshops, and community events.
Neighborhood: The Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH) Woodley Park is located in the northwest section of Washington D.C. in Woodley Park. It is one block south of the National Zoo and one block north of the Woodley Park Metro station. The Center is within close proximity to many government agencies and bureaus, cultural attractions, historical landmarks, and numerous embassies. The surrounding neighborhood boasts a variety of multi-cultural restaurants and shops along tree-lined streets.
Housing and Accommodations: Students will share a room with a student of the same gender in Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH) Woodley Park apartments. All apartments have three bedrooms that are fully furnished with central air-conditioning, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and a common area. Furnishings include long twin beds, dressers, beside tables and lamps, a sofa, armchairs, a coffee table, a computer desk, a dinette table and chairs, dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans. Students will have access to laundry and vending services in the building.
Meals: Students will be given a stipend to cover the costs of meals. Most students cooked in their common area kitchens or used their stipend to eat at local restaurants.
Communication: High speed internet is available in each apartment (note that apartments are not wireless). Students will also have access to a computer center housed in the building.
Transportation: Students will be expected to use the Metro for their in-town travel needs. Students will work out of RTV’s office at Farragut Square, right outside the Farragut North Metro stop and two red line stations from their Woodley Park housing. Vans will be rented by program staff for field trips and events.
Volunteer Placement Logistics: Students will be expected to be in the RTV office Monday through Friday during normal working hours (9:00 am to 6:00 pm). Some work may occasionally require evening and weekend commitments. It may also require off-site community outreach or field work.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: DukeEngage students are required to attend all group programming. Students will have program commitments one to two nights per week from about 6:00-9:00 PM and approximately every other weekend. Programming may take place in the WISH housing or at a location in downtown Washington, D.C. and could include: reflection sessions with the group and program staff, speakers, enrichment field trips, or group meals. The remaining three or four nights during the week and every other weekend will be free for students to relax or explore the city on their own. Occasionally students may have evening and weekend commitments with RTV. While there will be some downtime, students should not anticipate a great deal of autonomy.
Miscellaneous: Washington, D.C. offers unparalleled opportunities for enrichment throughout the summer. DukeEngage participants will have access to and meetings with government and elected officials, including officials from Congress, the White House, and executive branch agencies and departments. Students will attend lectures and conferences organized by D.C.-based political organizations of all political persuasion. They will also have the opportunity to attend RTV-related concerts in the D.C.-area and interact with RTV artists. While students will spend the majority of their time in the D.C.-based RTV office, there may be opportunities for travel outside of DC with RTV.