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Civic Engagement and Voting: What is Civic Engagement?

This guide shares resources and strategies for learning about socio political issues in order to vote or otherwise participate in civic discourse. It also details local resources for getting involved as well at UNLV and local events.

Civic Engagement and Voting

This Civic Engagement and Voting guide provides resources and information about a variety of issues from voting, researching issues and candidates, how elections work, as well as a variety of resources such as books, streaming videos,and information about upcoming events.

 

Photograph: Women registering to vote in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1966 from the Clinton Wright Photograph Collection. PH-00379. Special Collections and Archives, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

How to Use This Guide

This guide offers guidance and resources for getting civically engaged in your community. 

What is Civic Engagement?

Civic Engagement means making a difference in our communities and developing a combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation needed to enact change. It includes formal and informal activities such as volunteering, voting, lobbying for a politician, community gardening, completing the census, coaching a community sports team, writing to a elected official, researching ballot initiatives, and more. 

 

Sources:

“The Definition of Civic Engagement.” The New York Times, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial2/coll_aascu_defi.html. Accessed December 16, 2019

"Civic Participation." Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-health/interventions-resources/civic-participation. Accessed December 16, 2019.

"Civic Engagement." youth.gov, https://youth.gov/youth-topics/civic-engagement-and-volunteering. Accessed December 16, 2019.

Questions? Ask me!

Chelsea Heinbach's picture
Chelsea Heinbach
Contact:
University Libraries - Lied Library
LLB1145A
Chelsea.heinbach@unlv.edu
702-895-0522

Acknowledgements

This guide was created by Maggie Bukowski, Outreach and Instruction Specialist with the assistance of Susie Skarl, Urban Affairs Librarian under the guidance of Chelsea Heinbach, Teaching and Learning Librarian. It has since been updated by Rebekah D' Amato, a Mason Undergraduate Peer Research Coach under the guidance of Chelsea Heinbach.

Why is Civic Engagement Important?

Civic engagement is the foundation of democracy. By being civically engaged, the power is given back to the people to have their say in the world around them. From electing politicians that create policies that impact your life, to being a well-informed and active citizen, there are many reasons why civic engagement is important. Civic engagement is a great way to make an impact on your community and use your privilege to help those around you. From animal rights and education to social justice and house equity, find something you are passionate about and get engaged within your community!

 

Photograph: Please I'd Like to Grow: 60 Years of Student Activism — 2016 -- UNLV Libraries Exhibits and Events. https://www.library.unlv.edu/exhibits-events/2016/09/please-id-grow-60-years-student-activism

Get Involved at UNLV!

UNLVolunteers- UNLVolunteers is designed to be a resource for students, staff, and community members by connecting them to community service opportunities, and to promote a culture of civic engagement at UNLV.

CSUN Student Government- CSUN Student Government is the autonomous representative governing body of the undergraduate student population of the University of Nevada, las Vegas. This well sustained organization is maintained by three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. 

Rebel Initiatives of UNLV- The mission of Rebel Initiatives of UNLV is to design and support initiatives for positive change that will improve our campus as a whole, initiatives that will increase the rates of graduation and enhance the life of UNLV students.

Get Involved in Your Community

5 ways to get involved with your community

1. Volunteer as an election worker- Poll workers are paid volunteers who serve on election day and/or during the 14 days of early voting. Clark County is currently looking for poll workers especially those who are bilingual.

2. Know your representative- Knowing who your representatives and potential representatives are is important! This allows you to research where they stand on issues and can help inform whether or not you want to vote for them.

3. Attend City Council meetings- Attending city council meetings is a great way to learn about issues in your community and what elected officials are planning, what issues they are dealing with, or what they are proposing.

  • City of Las Vegas Latest News - The City of Las Vegas website allows you to see upcoming events happening in the City of Las Vegas including City Council meeting dates. If you cannot attend a council meeting or want to see past agendas, meeting minutes, and audio/video of previous meetings City of Las Vegas Meetings and Agendas provides those resources. 

4. Vote- Voting, including in elections outside of presidential elections, is one of the most significant ways we can contribute to our communities. 

  • Vote.org - allows you to check if you are registered to vote, register to vote, get an absentee ballot, and get election reminders
  • Nevada Secretary of State Voters - The Nevada Secretary of State Voters website provides information about voting specific to Nevada residents.

5. Volunteer- Volunteering is another way for a person to be engaged with their community. Whether the volunteering is political in nature or not, it is still civic engagement and a good way to get involved in issues you care about.

  • Volunteermatch.org - is a website that will help you find volunteer opportunities near you.

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