Dear Siena Community,

As someone who once had the honor of serving our great country in elected office, I know firsthand the importance of the electoral process, and the need for as many citizens as possible to register to vote – and then cast a ballot.

My very first official act as Siena’s president was signing onto the All-In Campus Democracy Pledge, which encourages colleges and universities to help students become active and informed citizens and make democratic participation a core value on their campuses. I am wholeheartedly committed to these goals.

I am proud to share that at Siena, several student-led civic engagement initiatives are already underway with the dedicated support of faculty, coaches and staff. The goal of this extraordinary team effort is twofold: to have 100 percent of all eligible students and employees registered to vote by their home state’s deadline, and to have our entire community of Saints cast ballots in the 2020 election.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 22) is a day with great significance at Siena: In addition to being our 83rd birthday, it is National Voter Registration Day and the College's annual Constitution Day. This year’s theme is “Our Voice, Our Vote, Decision 2020: Why It Matters Constitutionally,” and I am pleased to be a part of its cornerstone panel discussion. We will explore the potential impact of COVID-19 on voter turnout, racial unrest, and voter suppression, and discuss the significance of absentee voting. I encourage you to join in this virtual event, which will begin at 7 PM. A registration link is available here. 

For those who would like an even closer look at the election process, the Siena College Research Institute is recruiting paid student workers to conduct its highly-regarded polling in several key battleground states in cooperation with The New York Times. The SCRI polls are lauded by experts for their accuracy, and news coverage of their results carries the Siena name around the world. Interested students can email ckromrey@siena.edu

Political debate has become fractious if not outright embittered. Citizens are disillusioned and frustrated for many reasons, and that is why it is more important than ever to make your voice heard. Your vote matters because this nation was founded on the sacred principle that we are all created equal. To achieve that equality, we must all play a role in selecting the representatives of our local, state and federal governments. Whether or not you have a personal interest in politics, each and every one of us has a personal stake in hiring the men and women who create our laws.

This year we observe the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in this country. An excellent way for all of us to celebrate this historic milestone will be to exercise that very right by registering to vote and then casting a ballot, as so many activists made possible.

The voter registration process is simple and secure. In the next few weeks, I strongly urge you to register to vote. Then, make an informed choice of the candidates you will support, and cast your ballot.

It is your right, it is your voice, it is your vote.