President Isiaah Crawford on encouraging students to participate in the democratic process.

You recently were named to the Presidents’ Council for the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. What made you decide to play a leadership role in that effort? 
I was honored to be invited to serve on the ALL IN Presidents’ Council. As an organization, they endeavor to empower colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement, which is foundational to us and the mission of the University of Puget Sound. As you know, we look to prepare our graduates to meet the highest tests of democratic citizenship. The alignment of the work ALL IN does with Puget Sound’s dedication to nurturing and promoting a commitment to civic engagement in our students was simply perfect.

Puget Sound has been involved with ALL IN since it began in 2016. What appeals to you about the initiative? 
ALL IN and Puget Sound share the belief that it is very important for our young people to participate in our electoral process. They are committed to increasing student voting rates and assisting them in becoming active, informed, and engaged citizens in our democratic process—and we seek to do the same with our students. 

Why is it important to engage citizens at this particular time in their lives, that is, when they’re college-age, very new voters? 
We want to take advantage of the opportunity we have with our students as they matriculate through their studies with us to help ease their way, in a non-partisan manner, in making democratic participation one of their core and central values. Like ALL IN, we believe cultivating generations of engaged citizens is essential for a healthy and functional democracy.