California State University, Sacramento Sacramento State Leader

Sac State students get out the vote during Alternative Break

Nelsen at Super SundaySpring break traditionally is a time for relaxing or high-spirited getaways. Sacramento State students, however, have forged a unique tradition of service known as Alternative Break.

This year, more than 100 Sac State students – joined by 40 local high school and community college students – volunteered to knock on 1,600 doors in south Sacramento neighborhoods to get out the vote for this fall’s presidential election. Their outreach for voter registration targeted an area known for its lack of participation in elections. “The work we were doing was important, to let people be informed,” says Arianna Stubblefield, 20, a Sac State communication studies major. “Going door to door opens your eyes to the fact that a lot of people don’t know they can register to vote.”

Sacramento State’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) led the Alternative Break effort in partnership with Sacramento Area Congregations Together. This year, CEC director Dana Kivel decided to focus on a single effort – registering voters in some of Sacramento’s underserved neighborhoods – for the five days of Alternative Break. In the past, students have spent their breaks on activities such as planting a community garden and packing lunches for homebound seniors.

“We thought this was so important, especially given national news reports about low voter turnout in parts of Sacramento,” Kivel says. “This presidential election is so politically charged and polarizing, and we want to help voices be heard. Our students are making a difference.”

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