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February 10, 2003 :: Oklahoma College Students Urged to Raise Their Voices for National Kickoff

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Students representing Oklahoma public colleges and universities will be joining more than 100,000 other students nationwide Feb. 16-22 to launch the Raise Your Voice campaign, a national effort to encourage more students to speak out on issues important to their futures and to increase student involvement in public life.

The campaign is being launched during “Raise Your Voice – A Week of Action,” when colleges and universities will be hosting activities focused on increasing student involvement in all areas of civic life.

Oklahoma City Community College; Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford; Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; OSU-Oklahoma City, Cameron University, Lawton; the University of Oklahoma, Norman; East Central University, Ada; and the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, received $500 mini-grants from Oklahoma Campus Compact’s local Raise Your Voice initiative – Vocal Oklahomans in Civic Engagement (VOICE). These institutions will host various activities next week, including distributing political information, holding voter registration drives, participating in community service projects and hosting political forums and campus-wide dialogues.

Oklahoma Campus Compact, a coalition of public and independent colleges and universities created to strengthen student involvement on college campuses, has encouraged other higher education institutions to participate in the event as well, providing smaller mini-grants to those institutions with similar activities.

“We are really excited about the activities the schools are planning across the state,” said Jennifer Geren, assistant director of Oklahoma Campus Compact. “The students on each school’s planning committee have been working with campus officials for several months to prepare for the national kickoff. Our goal is to create an awareness among the students of the civic activities that are already taking place on their campuses and highlight the different efforts colleges are undertaking to encourage student civic responsibility.”

Kicking off the week, Oklahoma Campus Compact and UCO will host the first VOICE (Vocal Oklahomans in Civic Engagement) luncheon at the Capitol. Gov. Brad Henry will attend the Monday luncheon and sign a proclamation declaring the week of Feb. 16-22 as Civic Engagement Week – A Week of Action in Oklahoma. Students serving on the Collegiate VOICE Committee will present state legislators with a public issue statement from students addressing their commitment to civic engagement.

Through Oklahoma Campus Compact, located at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offices in Oklahoman City, member campuses are linked together as a coalition, actively supporting presidents, faculty, staff and students to reach into the community to build partnerships and improve the social and economic well-being of American communities.

To find out what the various Oklahoma colleges and universities are planning for the national kickoff, visit www.actionforchange.org/week or contact Geren at 405.225.9128 or jgeren@osrhe.edu.