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UNC Greensboro Earns Second Place in SoCon Voter Participation Championship

In an attempt to address the decline of young people voting between ages 18 and 29, the Southern Conference launched SoCon Votes in 2016, the first Division I Athletic Conference Championship for democratic engagement. The program supports the 80,000 students in the Southern Conference to become active and engaged citizens, and is supported by the non-partisan, non-profit program, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. UNC Greensboro claimed second place for Highest Voter Turnout, with efforts led by Kristina Gage, Associate Director for Civic Engagement, with a student voter participation rate of 39.7% in 2018 – a 16.1% increase from 2014.

“We are thrilled to see our student voting rate increase by 16% from the last midterm election. We work with students every day that are engaging in the communities around them through leadership, service, and civic engagement. Increasing voter participation is another indication that UNCG students care deeply about the world around them and want to participate in and work for a stronger democracy,” said Gage.

The Office of Leadership & Civic Engagement is preparing for Primary elections in North Carolina, including an event to kick off early voting on February 13. Early voting will be on campus from February 13 – 29 in the Kaplan Center for voters registered in Guilford County. Student Democracy Fellows will be hosting Voting 101 workshops and registration drives. Students, faculty, and staff can request resources or workshops by emailing the OLCE office. Stay up to date with all things voting by visiting OLCE’s Voting Info website.

 

The Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, a department within the Division of Student Affairs, prepares students to serve as change-makers. We develop, promote, and advance civic engagement, leadership development, and meaningful service to create positive social change. 


Staff Spotlight: Lindsey Woelker

Lindsey Woelker, Associate Director for Leadership with the Office of Leadership & Civic Engagement, has been a UNCG employee since March 2017. She is a Sterling Heights, Michigan native and an alumna of the University of Michigan and Loyola University Chicago.

What does the Student Affairs mission of Engage, Empower, Enrich mean to you?

To me, the mission of Engage, Empower, and Enrich means that as a Division, we create environments for students where they can discover their potential and find meaning as they navigate their college experience. We empower them to seek opportunities for growth and instill a sense of purpose beyond UNCG.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the Medallion Ceremony at the end of each semester. Even though it can be a stressful event, seeing the pride students have in receiving their medallion and watching them celebrate with their family and friends shows that what we are doing makes an impact on them now – and for years to come. I love that the Leadership Challenge is open to every student at UNCG and that each participant has the opportunity to recognize their potential and capitalize on all of  the wonderful things that they bring to their communities.

How do you feel your department makes an impact on students?

The really amazing part about the impact OLCE makes is that it impacts students so they can impact society. OLCE empowers students to be change-makers – to understand that they have a responsibility to actively engage in their community. We provide the skills and knowledge to do that effectively. As one Bronze graduate said, “This program makes me proud to be a Spartan.” I think our office helps students see UNCG’s pillar of “service” come to life and allows them to truly understand what it means to be a Spartan.

How would you describe UNCG to a prospective student or employee?

UNCG is a supportive community of people committed to student success – academically, socially, civically, personally, etc. I’ve grown so much here, both professionally and personally, because UNCG encourages staff to thrive so we can help students thrive. There are challenges, as with any institution, but here we are surrounded by caring people who always lend a hand. I was worried since I came from a smaller institution that I would feel siloed, but collaborations here are so easy and welcome – makes for a great place to work.

What are you most proud of during your time at UNCG so far?

I’m most proud of the relationships and partnerships I’ve created across campus. Our programs cannot occur without the support of (practically) the whole University. I’ve been able to create really solid connections with incredible staff members who go above and beyond to make our initiatives successful. I’m also proud of the relationships within OLCE that have been cultivated since I got here. I think we’ve created an office that continues to strive for a seamless connection between civic engagement and leadership, and the closer we get, the more exciting it becomes!

The Office of Leadership & Civic Engagement strives to enrich the UNCG community through civic engagement, intentional leadership development, and faculty support.  The various programs and diverse opportunities offered through OLCE prepare students for a life of active citizenship and empower students to effect positive community change.  With over 500 volunteer opportunities and a service database with over 250 community partners, OLCE offers participating Spartans opportunities to develop transferable skills, build meaningful community connections, and experience personal leadership.

 


Graduation Profiles: Reem Al Raiisi

Reem Hamid Al Raiisi, a native of Dibba, Oman, came to UNC Greensboro after attending high school in the United Arab Emirates – Fujairah. The International Business major graduated this semester. While at UNCG, Reem worked as an Information Desk Associate at the EUC, was nominated for the membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, received an Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society certificate, received a Hardworking Student certificate from the Interlink Center, helped plan the EUC Culture Fest, and studied abroad in Italy and Belgium.

I chose to attend UNCG because…

UNCG has one of the top business schools in the US, and I had a scholarship from my country to Greensboro. I never felt like I was home until I started attending UNCG. It is my second home, and I cannot believe I am leaving this prestigious place after graduation.

I am already thinking about coming back and giving back to the school that provided me with all the resources to expand my network, my knowledge, make long-lasting relationships, and grow as an individual leader.

I am thankful I was able to make an impact on campus, and I will forever be grateful for that.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

Study at the Library, work at the Information Desk at the EUC, attend events, participate in some of the organizations such as the Muslim Student Association, Pakistani Student Organization, Arab Student Organization, and Spanish American Latino Student Association (SALSA); working at the ceramic studio, and meeting new people from different cultures.

My favorite place to study is…

The reading room at the Library because it has some booths that I enjoy sitting in, and it feels like I have my own space to work and study.

My favorite professor is…

I had really good professors since I came to UNCG. One professor that I will never forget is my Introduction to Art professor, Ms. Jennifer Reich. She inspired me a lot in art, and that was the time that I realized that I need to take more art classes in order to explore myself in art.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

I don’t feel that failing would stop me from doing anything because I think failing could make me learn and explore myself more and more. I don’t see failing as an obstacle, I see it as a chance to do more and achieve more.

What is your passion, and how are you committed to pursuing it? 

Art is my passion, and I feel it’s the way I could express my feelings and emotions, and it’s a way to send a message to the whole world. The way I pursue it is by writing poems. For me, it’s easier to express my feelings by writing poems, and I feel it’s a very special way to send a message to someone by writing them a poem. So I write poems in Arabic, but two months ago I stated to write poems in English. What made me start writing poems in English is being involved and participating in some poetry nights that have been organized by the Greensboro Library downtown. I also wanted to send my message and feelings to non-Arabic speakers. The second way I pursue my passion is by doing some sculptures by using clay. I didn’t know that I was good at sculpture till I took my Ceramics I class at UNCG. Then I started to expand my skills and take more classes.

I really spent so much effort working on my sculpture pieces in order to have it done with love, and I really enjoyed my time staying at the studio for hours and hours without getting bored.

The one UNCG experience I will always remember is…

Being a part of the EUC Culture Fest by planning the event from scratch, and performing one of my poems at the Islam Around the World event that was organized by the Muslim Student Association was an unforgettable experience that helped me step out of my comfort zone and move a step closer towards my goals.

Are there particular Division of Student Affairs offices that have made a significant impact on your time here?

For me, the Elliott University Center made a hugely significant impact on my time at UNCG. Working as an Information Desk associate changed me a lot and has impacted me in a better way. I made a lot of good connections by working there, meeting new people from different departments and fields. Also, it strengthened my confidence over time.

In what ways have you experienced UNCG’s Culture of Care?

Before I studied abroad in Italy in Fall 2018, the International Program at UNCG prepared me with information about Italy’s culture, how different their culture is, and how to be fully equipped for the experience from a cultural perspective. The diverse culture of UNCG also allowed me to meet some Italian students on campus to learn more before going into a whole new place. That allowed me to be aware of the differences, and I highly appreciate UNCG’s diverse campus, because I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am today with a lot of knowledge of different cultures and friends from all around the globe.

What does student leader mean to you?

The student leader to me is inspiring people around me with knowledge and skills that might help them in different aspects of life.

How do you think your campus involvement and student leadership experience has prepared you for life after UNCG?

UNCG classes focus on improving collaborative group skills, and as an International Business major, I need these skills to communicate with people. Also, UNCG is one of the most diverse campuses, and it helped to get exposed to different cultures and perspectives.

How would you describe UNCG to a prospective student?

UNCG is a diverse campus that students can get a lot of benefits from, either by studying abroad or being involved in organizations or clubs.

As you look back on your time at UNCG, what advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

Enjoy every single day at UNCG, and explore your talent by taking different classes.

Take every opportunity that comes your way in order to find yourself and improve yourself in the best ways.

Don’t be afraid of going forward with your goals because nothing is impossible, you can make everything possible even if it’s hard. And do what you love and love what you do.