Promoting Civic and Political Engagement

NCCE seeks to improve civic life by actively engaging our member institutions in initiatives that develop and promote practices and habits of democracy.

2022 Funding Announcements

Election Engagement Mini-Grants

The following member campuses were awarded $500 mini-grants to support election engagement for the 2022 midterms. This program is part of the NC Collegiate Civics Project with funding provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. 

  • Appalachian State University
  • Central Piedmont Community College
  • Duke University
  • Elon University
  • Greensboro College
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Methodist University
  • UNC Charlotte
  • UNC Pembroke

Election Engagement Sustainability Fellows (EESF)

The EESF program is the only campus-based election fellowship that engages faculty and staff members who want to ensure the long-term sustainability of democratic participation on their campus. Participating institutions receive $1000. This program is part of the NC Collegiate Civics Project with funding provided by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Below are the 2022-23 EESF.

  • Courtney Stanford, Bonner Coordinator & Terra Roane, Director of Student Leadership and Engagement

    (Guilford College)

  • Dr. Roderick Heath, Director, Men’s Achievement Center (NC Central University)

 Funders and Partners

Thank you to the funders and partners who have supported these efforts over the years: 

  • Campus Election Engagement Project (now Civic Influencers)
  • Puffin Foundation
  • Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
  • NC Counts Coalition
  • (Access the 2022 NC midterm voter guides)

We are especially grateful to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation who, in 2020 and 2022, awarded funds to NCCE for the NC Collegiate Civics Project (NC-CCP), an initiative to promote election engagement and civil discourse dialogue.

NCCE is a partner organization of the Ask Every Student Initiative. This initiative provides a framework to integrate voter participation efforts broadly across campuses with the goal of full participation.  

NCCE is also a proud partner organization for the four major election holidays: National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Election Hero Day,  and Vote Early Day.

What is Civic Engagement?

Civic engagement is any activity that involves or is intended to affect not only the interests or work of a particular group of faith or affinity, but those of a broader community (whether defined locally, nationally, or globally).

What is Political Engagement?

Political engagement is any activity or set of activities driven by a desire to influence government, policy-making, and/or elections, such as participating in a protest, joining a party, volunteering in a campaign, running for office, testifying at public hearings, or advocating on public issues through social media.

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century (Cambridge, Mass.: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2020).

Nonpartisan Political Engagement 

Since 2008, NCCE has supported efforts to register, inform, and mobilize student voters. In addition to sharing information and facilitating training on key election-related topics, we have disseminated nearly $100,00 in mini-grants to campuses throughout the state and facilitated Election Engagement Fellows programs.  

In 2016, we hosted regional network meetings on the topic “Student Voter Engagement in North Carolina: Issues and Strategies.” Representatives from 21 campuses attended. That same year, we trained and supported student Election Engagement Fellows on 11 of our member campuses. In 2020, we launched the Election Engagement Sustainability Fellowship which engaged faculty and staff members on four member campuses charged with forming a voting coalition and developing a three-year election engagement plan. 

Ongoing initiatives: 

Civil Discourse and Dialogue

NCCE launched our civic discourse and dialogue efforts in 2013, and since that time, we have introduced and trained thousands of faculty, staff, and students in 12 dialogue and deliberation models. 

Learn more 

Student Leadership Development for Public Service & Social Change 

In 2017, we partnered with the NC Institute of Political Leadership to host two Pathways to Civic Leadership workshops for students to explore how to make change through different methods, including politics, service, and community organizing. In spring 2023, we will pilot the Collegiate Public Service Leadership Academy at part of the NC-CCP.  

Starting in 2018, we launched 4C, a biennial competition to help students explore solutions to daunting public issues. The 2019 topic was food insecurity and the 2021 topic was political polarization. We are launching the Redesigning Democracy Student Competition in 2023 to help students examine one component of our democracy and propose ideas to improve or enhance it. 


Learn more: 


Media Literacy 

NCCE Executive Director, Leslie Garvin, was selected as a 2022-23 UC Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow. Her project, which focused on “Disrupting Mis & Disinformation in the University Setting” involves a research project to explore the link between civic engagement and media literacy and will result in a toolkit of resources for institutions to develop and support media literacy. 


Previous Civic and Political Engagement Initiatives

2020 Census Mobilization

As part of our efforts to strengthen democracy, NC Campus Compact helped mobilize our member institutions to ensure a complete 2020 Census count in North Carolina. We provided information and funding to support this work throughout the state.  

In partnership with the NC Counts Coalition, we also sponsored Census Fellows at 11 member colleges and universities. The Fellows targeted communities historically identified as hard-to-count communities to ensure they have the information they need to complete and submit their Census form. This program complemented the state-wide efforts of the NC Complete Count Commission and the NC Counts Coalition.

We also partnered with the NC Counts Coalition to sponsor the #MakeNCCount Video Contest. These videos, targeting college students, provide information about the census in creative and fun ways. There were two categories for contest submissions: Informational and Inspirational. Each winner received a cash prize.

The winners were:

  • 1st place Informational category: Deja Mayfield, North Carolina A&T State University
  • 2nd place Informational category: Love Cesar, NC A & T State University
  • Inspirational category winner: Lauren Bagby, Winston-Salem State University

Featured Civic and Political Engagement Media

2021 SLSV PEG Roll Call 


NCCE was invited to create the North Carolina video featured during the state roll call that occurred at the opening of the 2021 SLSV Post-Election Gathering (PEG).Thanks to the following campuses that participated: Davidson-Davie Community College, Elizabeth City State University, Meredith College, NC A & T State University, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, and Wake Forest University. 

2020 WEINSPIRE Podcast Featuring NCCE

According to their website, WeINSPIRE began in 2014 as one day dedicated to spreading positivity and inspiration to people all over America. Today, it has grown into a worldwide community powered by people doing good, for people seeking joy. This organization was founded by NCCE AmeriCorps VISTA alum, Jamarl Clark. In October 2020, Executive Director, Leslie Garvin, spoke on the WeINSPIRE podcast about NCCE’s political engagement work.