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The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


The Student News Site of Bridgewater College


Student Athlete Focus: Kennedy Fauntleroy

BC Votes Educates Students on Voting

Kirsten Pittman
Senior Katelyn Yoder, a Civic and Community Engagement Scholar, participates in the BC Votes event in the FLC. The event helped educate students on voting and registration.

Bridgewater,Va.- On Oct. 20, Dr. Bobbi Gentry, Associate Professor of Political Science, secured a grant to boost voter education and engagement allowing students to get involved in voter education and registration process.

Gentry is one of the six members in the U.S, and the only one from Virginia, to receive a $20,000 grant from the Scholars Strategy Network’s Election Protection and Enhancement Program. 

The program, now in its second year, provides funding for practices that improve and increase participation in and build trust in elections. In its pilot year, Gentry was one of eight to receive a grant from SSN, which she used to create The Valley Votes Project. The project includes a website and speakers series focused on building trust and improving confidence in elections. 

“I am honored to receive this grant to help promote voter education and voter registration at Bridgewater College,” said Gentry. “Empowering students to be civic leaders is central to this grant.”

Dr. Bobbi Gentry is pursuing an 18 month project called BC Votes creating Civic Leaders of Tomorrow. The project expands on work done by the Valley Votes Project and supports a series of initiatives designed to encourage voting.  

“What we are focused on now is trying to get students to think about the upcoming election in November, getting registered, updating their registration for those students who are ineligible to vote, and also letting them know what opportunities they have so they can engage in the community,” said Gentry.

The drive had a 360 degree photo booth for the students to engage, which was  brought in by Gigi Gibbs, a friend of Gentry and JMU alumni. The two have worked together in the past with other college events and reconnected again for the voter registration drive event in the Forrer Learner Commons. 

“The 360 degree photo booth goes around with an iPad circling around any individual where the iPad takes video of you,” said Gibbs. “In the photo booth, you can dance, strike a pose and it’s mainly for people who want to put it up on their social media to help promote the voter registration drive today,” said Gibbs.

A portion of the grant directly supports designating Bridgewater College students as Civic and Community Engagement Scholars. As scholars, BC students will register voters, spearhead voter education efforts and organize other voter engagement efforts to ensure their peers and members of the community are confident and informed voters. Four Bridgewater students have been selected for this grant-funded opportunity being sophomore Sebastian Kochall, sophomore Jordan Mongold,  Senior Tony Nesselrodt and senior Katelyn Yoder.

“We just kind of got it up and rolling, and I have always been interested in helping people get engaged,” said Yoder. “With voting as my role with BC Votes, I am a civic and community engagement scholar which is a fancy way of saying I am involved in the community and the student body making students more invested in their role in the community and their engagement.”

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About the Contributor
Ortez Marshman
Ortez Marshman, Staff Writer
Communication, Culture & Technology Major
Junior, Class of 2024