With over 400 student-athletes in Oberlin’s community, the Athletics department wants to make a difference this election season. Yeo the Vote, a new initiative this election year, aims to reach 100 percent student-athlete voter registration.
“This initiative supports our institution’s commitment to empowering our students with the knowledge and opportunities to confront complex issues,” Associate Vice President for Athletics Advancement and Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos wrote on GoYeo.
Head women’s basketball Coach Stephany Dunmyer views this as another opportunity for Oberlin students to become politically involved, especially first-years.
“This will be the first time that many of our students have the opportunity to vote, so I hope they take advantage of this opportunity,” Dunmyer said.
To ensure that every Oberlin student-athlete is able to cast their ballot, the Athletics department has suspended all athletics activities on Election Day.
College fourth-year and men’s lacrosse player Jack Stevens hopes that the initiative will not only create a 100 percent student-athlete voter turnout, but will also have the athletic community encourage the rest of the campus to vote.
“These are the priorities, but I know that, in reality, these are boxes to check for every individual athlete,” Stevens said. “To really go above and beyond, we need to encourage others to register and participate, be it through word of mouth, social media, [or] letter writing.”
Dunmyer sees voting as another way for Oberlin students to impact change in society.
“At Oberlin, we know that our students really can and will change the world in a variety of ways,” Dunmyer said. “One of the many ways they can do that is through civic participation and/or engagement.”
As an Oberlin student-athlete, Stevens believes that this initiative upholds the College’s long legacy of activism.
“It’s an acknowledgement of our civic responsibility as Americans, and an acknowledgement of the importance of this election in particular,” Stevens said. “Knowing that the administration [at Oberlin] cares about the integrity of our democracy, considering we have a sitting president [in the U.S.] who wants to suppress the vote.”
While the main goal of the Yeo the Vote is to support nonpartisan voter registration, the initiative fits into the Athletics department’s larger mission to help athletes find ways to contribute to society.
“It is our goal to empower our student-athletes – voting is just one of the ways that they can make their voices count,” Dunmyer said.