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Election Day is Now a Holiday at Stanford

Stanford, like many other colleges, has long fallen short of universal electoral participation. Less than half of students regularly vote, and the intense quarter system can force students and other community members to choose between democratic engagement and academic endeavors. To change that, Stanford undergrads Jonathan Lipman and Sean Casey led a push to make Election Day an academic holiday with mentorship from Stanford Professor Josh Ober and others. The challenge was daunting — no student had ever altered the university calendar. But this was a chance to show the Stanford community that young people can make change and that civic engagement matters.

Jonathan and Sean wrote white papers, published op-eds, guided legislation through the student government, met with administrators, and presented to the Faculty Senate and its committees: not once, not twice, but five times. After almost a year and hundreds of hours of work, the Election Day Holiday proposal passed the Faculty Senate overwhelmingly. Stanford’s academic calendar changed for Fall 2021 and every year thereafter, a profound recognition of the importance of civics at Stanford. To read more about Jonathan and Sean's successful Civics Day project, read the Stanford Daily story