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Pac-12 “Pac the Polls” initiative amplifies student-athlete voices to promote voter registration, education and empowerment

Oct 29, 2020
Pac-12 student-athletes from each member university using their platforms to uniquely promote voting across campuses
 
SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference launched the “Pac The Polls” initiative this summer in an effort to promote voter registration, educate students and student-athletes on the history of voting and empower them to make their voices and votes count this election year.
 
“Pac the Polls” is the result of collaboration among the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), the Conference's advisory committee on social justice and anti-racism, the Pac-12 Conference and each of its 12 member universities. Representatives from each university included student-athletes across tens of sports, all of whom served as ambassadors for “Pac the Polls” on their campuses.
 
"I applaud the efforts of our student-athletes, leaders on our campuses and in our Pac-12 office for the work they've done to highlight and support voter education, registration and voting," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.
 
“The way our student-athletes have galvanized themselves and each other around voting and using their voices as vehicles for change continues to be a great source of pride and inspiration,” said Alan Green, University of Southern California Associate Professor of Clinical Education and co-chair of the Pac-12 advisory committee on social justice and anti-racism. “As educators and campus leaders, our mission is to empower the next generation to actively participate in the evolution of our society. What I have seen from our student-athletes over these last few months gives me enormous confidence in their passion, focus and ability to effect change.”
 
“Pac the Polls” has been executed in three stages:
 
Voter Registration
 
The first stage encouraged voter registration across campuses for all students and student-athletes of eligible voting age. Student-athletes participated in National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week and National Vote Early Day by utilizing their personal social media platforms to launch university-specific initiatives, share resources and information, and illustrate their voting strategies.
 
Education on Voting
 
The Pac-12 facilitated three educational webinars on voting.
 
The first webinar, put on in partnership with the All In Campus Democracy Challenge, featured California’s women’s basketball head coach Charmin Smith and voting experts from UCLA, Utah and the All In organization to discuss the history of voting and voting rights.
 
Leading into National Vote Early Day, the Pac-12 partnered with Rock the Vote to host a webinar that focused on voter suppression education, relational organizing and a special appearance from Pac-12 and NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.
 
This Thursday, October 29, Pac-12 Team Green will host the Amplifying Voices for Change Virtual Event, delving further into Pac-12's commitment to social justice, anti-racism and mental health. The program will offer actionable takeaways and educate and encourage attendees to vote, get involved and promote change, not only this year, but in the long-term. The webinar will also include a panel that features Washington State men’s basketball head coach Kyle Smith, California women’s basketball student-athlete Cailyn Crocker and former UCLA swimming student-athlete and current Director of Special Partnerships at Rock The Vote Katie Grover to discuss how to build the political power of young people. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is available here.
 
Celebrating the Vote
 
In celebration of the NCAA’s decision to pause athletic activity on November 3 to encourage student-athletes and athletic staff to vote, the Pac-12 will be amplifying university participation in the voting process. All 12 Conference universities are serving as either ballot box drop off or polling locations, so the Pac-12 is encouraging student-athletes and fans to share photos of themselves dropping off mail-in ballots, showing off their “I Voted” stickers in their favorite Pac-12 colors, or otherwise participating in the democratic process while using the hashtag #PacThePolls on social media platforms.
 
Additional content and resources on “Pac the Polls” is available at Pac-12.com/impact, a one-stop information source to help student-athletes and the general public make informed decisions when it comes to voting on Election Day. 
 
About Pac-12 ImPACt
Pac-12 ImPACt is the social activism arm of the Pac-12 Conference, seeking to do what the name implies – make an impact in the communities and lives of Pac-12 student-athletes, member institutions and society at large. The focus of Pac-12 ImPACt is to harness the power of sport to build awareness, identify solutions and provide leadership to promote initiatives across the social activism landscape, particularly those that encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion, support sustainability efforts and fuel the pioneering spirit of the West Coast. Pac-12 ImPACt creates and supports transformational policies, programs, resources and services designed to strengthen our university communities from the inside out, spreading the messages of inclusion and empowerment by celebrating diversity, fostering fairness and good sportsmanship, and working towards the ultimate goal of equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Launched in 2012, Pac-12 ImPACt is headquartered in the Pac-12 Conference office in San Francisco, California. For more information on Pac-12 ImPACt, please visit Pac-12.com/impact.
 
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 54 of the last 60 years, with 529 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities - the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to Pac-12.com/conference.