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CBS Democracy Project

words "Democracy Project Circle" surrounded by science icons, including microscopes, field work gear, and safety glasses

Science, democracy, and the wellbeing of our communities are inextricably intertwined. As scientists, CBS students and graduates hold both a unique ability to understand scientific information, and the responsibility to understand the real-world implications of science. Through the Democracy Project, CBS strives to provide students with resources to act and engage at the intersection of these two spaces. This knowledge should be utilized to inform and influence policies, program funding, and approaches to solving problems impacting our communities.

 


Get Involved

There are numerous ways to get engaged on campus, in the nearby community and beyond! 

  • Democracy Project Events

    Each semester CBS hosts a Democracy Project event where students have an opportunity to develop skills and explore concepts that prepare them to successfully address challenges our world and communities face that exist at the intersection of science, civic engagement, and social change. 

    Themes of these events may include:

    • Educating and promoting scientific literacy within the community.
    • Using scientific knowledge to advocate and engage in democracy.
    • Promoting scientifically grounded and culturally competent solutions to problems.
    • Advocating for policy that reflects a knowledge of science and the needs of the community.

     

    Past events have included panels on civic engagement as a scientist, peer discussions on student activism, and seminars focused on scientific communication. To learn more about this semester’s Democracy Project event visit z.umn.edu/CBSDemocracyProjectEvent.

  • Other Ways to Participate

    In addition to participating in Democracy Project programming and engaging with the democratic process, you can also get involved in this work in other ways:: * Check out March for Science to learn about various policies and reforms happening in STEM.


    • Check out March for Science to learn about various policies and reforms happening in STEM.
    • View Research America to learn about how to take action and advocate for health and medical research. Also, a place to view polling data as it relates to public opinions and summaries of how Americans feel about health, medical, and scientific research.
    • Have conversations with individuals from various communities to understand their perspective and solutions to important scientific challenges.
    • Participate in demonstrations and protests that reflect your values.
    • Volunteer and/or fundraise to support organizations.
    • Learn about what is happening at the university or get involved in the student government, visit Minnesota Student Association. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @MSAUMN.

 

CBS Voter Information 

One way that you can do this is by engaging in the political process by supporting candidates and voting. Despite the fact that science is on the ballot in every election, only 43.6% of STEM students voted in 2016, lower than students studying within any other academic field. Your vote matters and has power! Use it to support candidates in local, state, and national elections who foster and promote scientific discovery and policy solutions that are rooted in scientific fact. To learn more about how to be an informed and engaged member of the community, check out the resources below.

  • Get Registered

    The University of Minnesota partners with TurboVote to provide all eligible students with the resources to participate in elections. Through this site, students from any state can register to vote, check the status of their registration, request a mail-in ballot, and set up voting reminders.

    Remember, different states have different rules and deadlines for voter registration, so make sure to act early to ensure you can participate.

  • Get Informed
    • It is critical that before you cast your vote, you take the time to understand what you are voting on and who you are voting for! Some great resources to help with this include:
    • Learn about who is on your ballot, compare the candidates, and see what proposals you will be voting on by visiting Ballot Ready. Ballot Ready also allows you to email your selections to yourself in order to access them while voting.
    • Research individual candidates and ballot measures using BallotPedia.
    • Visit AllSides to examine how bias may impact the information you read from various news sources.
    • See how elected officials have voted on recent bills by visiting Causes. Through this website you can look up information by individual or see how everyone voted on issues that may be important to you such as the environment or healthcare.
  • Get Voting | in-person

    Every registered voter has the opportunity to go to their polling place in person on election day and complete their ballot.

    • Before going to vote, take some time to make sure that you know your rights as a voter. 
    • Many states also offer in-person early voting, if that is more accessible for you. You do not need an excuse to vote early.
  • Get Voting | absentee

    Every state also offers mail-in absentee ballots, but rules vary by state. Some states automatically send every resident an absentee ballot, while others will only offer absentee ballots to individuals who are able to provide justification as to why they are unable to go in person.

    • For students who wish to vote from their hometown, but will not be there physically on election day, this is a great option!
    • Students voting absentee in the state of Minnesota election are required to have their ballot signed by a witness. This includes either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary.
    • After submitting your absentee ballot, check the status of your ballot to ensure it is received by election day.

The Case of Civically-Engaged Scientists