Apply to be the PKG Center’s Grad Student Civic Engagement GCF!

Graduate Community Fellows are a cadre of graduate students who work under the auspices of the Office of Graduate Education on projects and assignments that enhance the life of graduate students in unique ways.

The PKG Public Service Center voter engagement GCF is tasked with advancing nonpartisan graduate civic engagement efforts at MIT. MIT has a graduate student voter engagement problem. According to most recent NSLVE data, the graduate student voter turnout rate at MIT was only 43% in 2020, compared to 62% for graduate students nationally and 65% for undergrads at MIT. Furthermore, STEM students have historically voted at lower rates than their peers in other fields, and though we saw this gap largely close nationally in 2020 (NSLVE 2020), more work is needed to ensure this momentum becomes lasting. Clearly, voter outreach to MIT graduate students is sorely needed.

A GCF specifically for voter engagement is uniquely situated to work inside the graduate student
community to lower barriers to graduate student voting. Though staff, faculty, and administration can do
a lot to advance voter engagement efforts at MIT, they cannot inhabit graduate student spaces and reach graduate students where they are. This kind of peer-to-peer engagement is effective, important, and necessary to close the graduate student voter gap at MIT. The PKG voter engagement GCF will fill this role, and with the support of staff at the PKG and the ALL IN Coalition, work to reach graduate students, lower graduate student barriers to voting, and encourage graduate student voter turnout in a strictly non-partisan way for the betterment of civic engagement and democracy at MIT.

Tasks and Responsibilities (continuous):

  • Meet weekly with PKG Center Associate Dean + Director to discuss strategy, plan new initiatives, and update on ongoing progress
  • Attend weekly MITvote meetings to support and advise, and participate directly in their efforts; assist with recruitment and help provide leadership continuity for the student group.
  • Attend MIT’S ALL IN Coalition monthly meetings and represent graduate students
  • Maintain MIT’s ALL IN Perpetual Calendar spreadsheet to ensure institutionalization and accountability of voter engagement efforts and accountability.
  • Solicit and integrate new items to the perpetual calendar
  • Build connections throughout the graduate community for outreach
  • Analyze and develop a deep and fluent understanding of MIT’s NSLVE data (Tufts National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement), which provides campus-specific statistics on voter turnout and engagement
  • Update GCF position documentation and prepare for imminent transitions

Detailed Tasks


  • Document, reflect on, and assess efforts from the previous election season
  • Set goals for graduate student engagement and turnout in the coming election season
  • Brainstorm new ways to reach the graduate student community and better assist them in the voting process
  • Collaborate with MITvote to plan events and initiatives for the coming election season, especially those targeted towards graduate students. Events and initiatives should include:
    • Voter registration
    • Voter education
    • Absentee voter support
    • Election Day Celebration, or other large Election Day event
  • Identify and pursue possible funding sources for events and initiatives
  • Research, write, and produce a state-by-state voting guide for the following election season with relevant dates, deadlines, and process information organized by state
  • Develop materials for the coming election season and beyond in collaboration with MITvote and the PKG Center
  • Work to advance MIT voting-related policy initiatives


  • Continue preparatory work for fall events to ensure a robust election season launch
  • Interface with housing to ensure that address change reminders/signage and election season reminders are in place for student fall arrival
  • Work with the GSC and Office of Graduate Education to prepare voting materials for graduate orientation


  • Represent MITvote and voter initiatives at graduate orientation events
  • Recruit graduate students for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts
  • Plan and execute events and initiatives focused on graduate student voter engagement and turnout; this should build on work that began in the spring. Events and initiatives should include:
    • Voter registration
      • Flu clinic tabling
    • Voter education
    • Absentee voter support
    • Election Day Celebration, or other large Election Day event
  • Maintain the perpetual calendar to ensure action items are executed by the appropriate people at the appropriate time
  • Implement an online system for graduate students to submit their voting questions (google form, qualtrics survey, etc.). Research and respond to these questions and/or organize a team to do so
  • Work with the GSC to draft and send an email to all grads with voting information and reminders
  • Draft and send mail merge email to all eligible graduate students with state-specific information on dates and processes using directory data from the registrar
  • Utilize connections and communication networks through the graduate student community to disperse voter information and messaging

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