Office of Civic Engagement

Director’s Message for Fall 2021

From the Desk of Director Anita A. Ruf-Young

The Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) believes that encouraging active citizen engagement on our campus is something that should be fostered and encouraged each year. CSU is in the heart of Cleveland and has used the motto of, “The City is Our Campus”. CSU has a large physical footprint in Cleveland and is a stakeholder in the local success of the City and its surrounding communities.

Fall 2021 has been an exciting time to come back to on campus in-person learning. OCE’s office recognizes that it can be a difficult adjustment from remote learning for our CSU students. While the OCE realizes that we are not fully back to normal, we are grateful to be able to engage with students face to face again. It has been wonderful to see students at our voter registration tables, at our National Voter Registration Day events, and to connect 43 CSU students, so far, to in-person community work opportunities through our America Reads and Viking Corps programs. The OCE remains committed to connecting and engaging CSU students with meaningful service-learning experiences in the greater Cleveland community where their skills can benefit community members.

With only 16.2% of registered voters casting ballots for the September 14, 2021 Primary Election, once again, the OCE would like to remind our CSU campus community that important local elections are coming up on November 2, 2021, including the Cleveland Mayoral Race. The September 14, 2021 Primary Election narrowed the seven mayoral candidates to Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley. This is the first time in 16 years that there will be a new Cleveland Mayor.

In addition to the important Cleveland Mayoral Race, there are several Cleveland City Council races, school board elections, and 68 municipal issues on the ballot in Cuyahoga County, one of which is Cleveland, Ohio Issue 24, the Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative. Voter turnout during local general election years usually hovers around 30-31% of registered voters in Cuyahoga County. With so many important races and issues on the ballot, our Office actively works to register voters and engage registered voters to increase voter participation. As the Fall 2021 semester progresses and the November 2, 2021 election gets closer, I encourage every member of the CSU campus community to get vote ready and vote their voice!

Everyone has multiple options for casting their ballots. Early In-Person Voting and Vote-by-Mail are two great options if you cannot vote on November 2, 2021. Early In-Person Voting is available weekdays and weekends through Monday, November 1st. To learn more about In-Person Voting visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website.

Vote-by-Mail ballot applications must be received by the Board of Elections by 12:00 p.m. on October 30th, the Saturday before Election Day. Your Vote-by-Mail ballot must be received by the Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day if delivered in person or postmarked by the post office by the day before Election Day.

On a final note, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is in desperate need of Election Night Ballot Box Openers. Click here to learn more about this opportunity and to apply.

Anita A. Ruf-Young
Director, Office of Civic Engagement