Campus Communications

Student-Led MaristVOTES Honored in National Challenge

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations
MaristVOTES voter registration event on the Campus Green in 2022, where students were able to find resources to register and answer questions about their voting status. Photo by Matthew Moraski '23/Marist College.

March 19, 2024 — In an important election year, young voters could wield significant influence. Marist's efforts to keep its students politically engaged stand out, in part, through MaristVOTES—an initiative committed to ensuring the student population remains active in the political process by voting. Earlier this month, those efforts were rewarded as MaristVOTES received national recognition for its nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts. 

ALL IN Democracy Challenge
The student-led team at MaristVOTES was honored by the ALL IN Democracy Challenge, a nationally competitive effort to encourage engagement on college campuses. ALL IN was established by the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement in the presidential election year of 2016. This year, out of more than 230 submissions, Marist was among only a select number of colleges that earned the highest distinction, with its Highly Established Action Plan seal.

MaristVOTES student director Sylvia Wysor '26 led the initiative to draft and submit the plan with goals to promote civic engagement through implementing campus-wide voter education, increase voter registration, and increase voter turnout in the 2024 election year. 

Image of Sylvia Wysor ’26 at the national ‘Students Learn Students Vote’ event at the University of Maryland in November
Sylvia Wysor '26 at the national ‘Students Learn Students Vote’ event at the University of Maryland in November. There, she and fellow Marist student, Ashley Dowd '26 connected with students, faculty, and non-profit organizations dedicated to student voter advocacy from around the country. Photo courtesy of Sylvia Wysor.

“When I originally sat down to write this plan, I knew that it was Marist’s first time submitting a plan to the ALL-IN Democracy Challenge, so, while I was hopeful that we would receive positive feedback, I did not anticipate it receiving the accolades that it did,” said Sylvia. “I’m really proud of this work, and unbelievably grateful to Dr. Melissa Gaeke and her endless support of the MaristVOTES team.” 

Read more about the plan.

About MaristVOTES
Founded by alumna Julia McCarthy '18 as her Honors Thesis, MaristVOTES has brought awareness to the importance of voting among students ever since. Under the guidance of the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership and directed by Dr. Gaeke, MaristVOTES attracts students from all majors and focuses on fostering electoral participation through education and engagement. 

“As an organization, MaristVOTES represents what is most important in cultivating the capacity to participate in civic life,” said Gaeke. “Students have the opportunity to learn with their peers about what it means to be an active member of our political community. Together, they navigate complicated systems and collaborate to access crucial resources, ensuring that all Marist students have the opportunity to participate.”

To implement the plan, Wysor along with the MaristVOTES board, will collaborate with various student groups, including Marist Democrats, Marist Republicans, Marist Moderates, Marist SEED (Students Encouraging Environmental Dedication), the Marist Circle, Marist Model UN, and the Student Government Association.

To participate in primary and general elections, you must be registered to vote. To learn more, visit

New York residents, detailed instructions on absentee voting can be found on the New York State Board of Elections site and you can lookup your poll site here.



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