In our Students Not Politicians program, volunteers like Linda S. in Ann Arbor have taken on new and innovative roles as they work with students to improve voting access and voter engagement on college campuses across Michigan.
Linda first began volunteering with Voters Not Politicians in 2017, during our campaign to end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan. She took on various roles in our fledgling organization, including education, research, and outreach with communities of interest. Now, as a Students Not Politicians volunteer, Linda is working to inspire the next generation of democracy activists by advising and assisting students as they create, build, and manage club-based chapters of Voters Not Politicians at their universities.
The meaningful experiences she had in the very beginning of Voters Not Politicians’ pro-democracy movement had a profound impact on her outlook.
[At the time] it seemed like everyone thought Voters Not Politicians wouldn’t be able to get our proposition on the ballot to stop gerrymandering. It seemed like all these obstacles were put in our path and I, myself, felt at times it was hopeless. However, we made it! We did it! And it changed the way I felt about my effort actually helping to make a difference.
Volunteering with Voters Not Politicians had other more surprising impacts on Linda’s life.
I’m actually interested in politics now?! I was never very political until recently. My oldest was always very interested in politics – majored in political science – and I think working with VNP has brought us closer as well.
In fact, if you ask Linda why volunteering for a non-partisan, pro-democracy organization is so important to her, she’ll point to her entire family as part of her inspiration.
I come from a family who all vote for different political parties, but we are a very close family. We all believe that each vote should count. Access to voting and being able to choose your politician rather than the politician choosing you is something that resonates across the board. I really feel like I’m part of something that makes a positive difference for everyone.
And Linda looks forward to continuing her work with Voters Not Politicians and sharing that feeling with even more volunteers who are ready to make a positive difference in our democracy.
If you don’t like the things that are happening, you can help to make changes. I loved how VNP was always so upbeat and kept me from getting too discouraged. I also loved how, right away, after volunteering for VNP, that you felt you could have a seat at the table and contribute.