SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Traci Sooter is a Professor of Architecture at Drury University. She’s also a Missouri State University alum, and on the board of Sigma Kappa sorority at MSU.
She says she saw an opportunity to get student excited about voting, and took it.
“In 2016 I spent at least a week consoling my students, students in other classes in our building…about the outcome of the election, all the find out that they didn’t vote. So I thought I’m going to take this up a notch.”
She says in the past few months, she’s asked each one of her students what’s stopping them from voting. If they have any issue, she helps them solve it.
“For many years I’ve let my students out of class on Election Day and somewhere along the way I started saying, okay extra credit points if you send me a selfie from the poles outside. Of course and it turned into this really fun thing that the students loved doing and I enjoyed getting all those smiling selfies all day all Election Day.”
She then shared the idea with other faculty at Drury University this year.
“There’s a couple of professors that outdid me and said hey if you work the polls, I’ll give you even more points. So it’s really, you know caught on fire here at Drury and it’s been fantastic.”
But Sooter didn’t stop there. She’s shared the incentive with other professors at MSU, and is also encouraging members of Sigma Kappa sorority to cast a ballot too.
“I thought well, I’m not their Professor so I can’t give them extra credit points, so I talked to their President we decided that a pizza on the porch party would be fun and it would be socially distant.”
Sigma Kappa currently has 197 members. She challenged the chapter to get 90% of them to cast a ballot.
“So around a hundred sixty have to vote, and they have really taken off with this. I have at least 80 students already that have done the mail-in ballots, and I’m hoping that on Election Day that we get up to our 90% or maybe even a hundred percent.”
In total, Traci Sooter has received over 100 photos of students already voting by mail or absentee.