Discover Internships: Hawk the Vote

“I use the skills I learned in that civic engage course in almost every Hawk the Vote meeting and at our various campus events.” Check out Alexis Carfrae’s narrative on her time as Associate Director of Hawk the Vote!

Last semester I started a position as the Associate Director of Hawk the Vote. This is a paid position through the Division of Student Life that works to educate, empower, and register all voters on the University of Iowa campus. I participated in this experience through the duration of the entire second semester, and I will continue work with the initiative for my next three semesters of undergrad.

My favorite experience with Hawk the Vote was registering students to vote in anticipation for the June 7th primary elections. Because primary and local elections have very small turnout rates, it felt really good to make a difference in the electoral process and encourage college students to vote. College students are the largest eligible voting bloc in the country, but they have the lowest voter turnout rate. What I also enjoyed about registering students to vote was the feeling of empowerment and excitement that so many students got when registering. While we did not register as many students as we originally anticipated, the few we did were very excited to get to the ballot boxes.

Iowa Capitol on Hawkeye Caucus Day

This experience allowed me to grow because it put me in a position where I was able to interact with people who I do not politically agree with, but I am still able to work alongside. It is uncomfortable sometimes to be in that situation, but Hawk the Vote taught me that political opinions do not matter inside our organization, and the most important thing we can do is provide a nonjudgmental space for students. 

I will continue my work with the initiative next year as the Associate Director until January, where I will transition into the role as the Executive Director. In the fall of 2021, I participated in the Honors Fellow course over civic engagement. While this course was not specifically tailored to voting, I learned a lot about serving your community and the responsibility that you must educate others when you’re in a position of privilege like I am. As a Political Science major, I have the distinct privilege to understand voting and election laws that other students on campus may not have. I use the skills I learned in that civic engage course in almost every Hawk the Vote meeting and at our various campus events.

Instagram post from Hawk the Vote

While I am new to this initiative this semester, I think it really pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone, try something new, and ask question when I was unsure. Voting and election laws are very tricky, and it is important to ask before getting yourself or someone else in trouble. I also learned the value of shared governance because we started working with various campus partners and the Undergraduate Student Government this semester to bolster the mission of the initiative.

I am excited to see how Hawk the Vote adapts and grows over the next few semesters, and I am so lucky to have been a part of this necessary group.

Author bio:
Alexis Carfrae is studying Political Science, Ethics and Public Policy, and Political Risk Analysis. She currently serves as the Speaker of the Undergraduate Student Government, Associate Director of Hawk the Vote, and works as an Admin for the Honors Program. Outside of school, Alexis is a Congressional Fellow and enjoys spending time with her friends and her cat Harry.

Edited by: Abbey Jordahl, Honors Admin

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