CLC recognized for student voting efforts

Central Lakes College earned distinction as a Voter Friendly Campus.

CLC Central Lakes College banner with the sky in the background
Central Lakes College banner.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Central Lakes College was named a Voter Friendly Campus, one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia, by Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The initiative recognizes institutions that have planned and implemented practices that encouraged their students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and continue to do so in coming years.

Further, CLC is the only community college in Minnesota to receive this recognition, and one of only 41 community colleges nationwide.

The mission of the 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster colleges and universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process every year, not just during years featuring federal elections. CLC was evaluated based on a written plan for how the college planned to register, educate and turnout student voters in 2022, how it facilitated voter engagement efforts on campus and a final analysis of its efforts.

"Central Lakes College is proud of our student leaders for engaging in the non-partisan work of ensuring our student population is ready and able to access their right to vote,” said Erich Heppner, CLC director of Student Life, in a news release. “Our students have intentionally created a culture that celebrates the freedom to vote in our local, state and federal elections. We anticipate that CLC will continue to be a leader in this space thanks to the strong foundation that has been established."


As part of its effort to be designated a Voter Friendly Campus, CLC obtained the following achievements:

  • Highest voter registration totals for a midterm election since the college began tracking in 2010.
  • The college’s commitment to civic engagement and fostering relationships with its local election officials has led to a renewed effort to establish a polling place on campus in the future.
  • Student Senate leaders celebrated their first national award for voting engagement due to their Students Learn Students Vote recognition.

“CLC has made a strong statement about its civic mission to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is eager to continue engaging students through 2023, 2024 and beyond,” CLC officials said in a news release.
The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural and urban campuses, collectively serving over 3.5 million students. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes 49 minority serving institutions and 13 historically Black colleges and universities, as well as 41 community colleges.

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