College campuses and high schools are highly underutilized resources for candidates that choose to stand up for youth issues and empowerment. As college activists and organizers, we launched Generation Vote after working on electoral and advocacy campaigns where we saw the enormous potential of young people to impact their communities.This experience gave us the idea for a model of youth engagement which uses issues to drive authentic engagement and turnout.
As young people, we are energetic, passionate, and willing to do the hard work that needs to be done. We understand running for local office is hard and resources are limited. Our teams provide candidates the resources to run youth-led campaigns and break the barriers of getting young people engaged in local politics.
To build engagement, our teams register students to vote, conduct youth GOTV efforts, hold "GenVote Rallies", coordinate student volunteers, and build a student constituency around the GenVote Youth Platform.
Our GenVote teams look for authentic partnerships with potential candidates who want to elevate youth voices. To partner with a potential candidate, our teams look for these factors:
1) A commitment to integrate the local GenVote team’s Youth Platform into the candidate’s platform, and to highlight youth voices in the course of the campaign.
2) A commitment to include GenVote team staff in campaign planning, to design the best possible youth messaging, policy, and outreach.
3) A commitment to fund youth-focused GOTV efforts and build a local student constituency.
4) A commitment to progressive policies that advance equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.
Our GenVote teams are unlike any other student organization on campus. Each GenVote team is led by a staff of committed team members, who will apply their specialized training to specific races. Candidates may also have access to data from GenVote Student Opinions Research initiatives.
From building local "Student Constituencies" to crafting a message that mobilizes student volunteers and "Get Out The Youth Vote", candidates will have access to unique GenVote trainings and programs. We will also amplify our organizing power by sharing trainings and resources of partner organizations.
Candidates will have access to the greater GenVote community. We will invite candidates to our Slack community and in districts with more than one Genvote team, we will connect our teams to build a comprehensive youth GOTV effort.
We will work with our local GenVote Communication Directors to feature candidates on campus media, launch targeted social media campaigns and connect with other relevant media.
When we first began to spread the word about our program, we began to hear from candidates who were interested in working with us to engage young people, but who did not have an existing GenVote team in their area. In response, we decided to create a new pilot program, the GenVote Candidate Academy, a modified version of our training program for students developed with the needs of progressive local candidates in mind. These training modules, tools, and mentorship from our staff of experienced youth organizers can allow candidates to authentically engage young people in their community.
Training offerings include:
If you are a progressive candidate running for local office interested in participating in our first pilot cohort of 3-5 candidates, you can apply here.