Mason Votes receives award for political engagement

Mason Votes is a student-run organization that promotes political awareness and involvement (photo courtesy of Mason Votes).

Mason Votes, the George Mason University’s student-run political awareness organization, will receive the Democracy Cup Award from the Campus Election Engagement Project. Mason was recognized as one of the top four campuses within Virginia higher education to "engage their campuses and communities in the 2012 election," according to a press release.

"The CEEP is a national organization that tries to educate college campuses and students about the importance of being involved in the democratic process," said Shane Smith, executive director of Mason Votes and senior at the university. "We relied on them for the grant money that we applied [for] and received in order to do the things that made us successful in the end."

Smith attributes the success of Mason Votes to the extensive content that had been posted on its main website, The organization's social media initiative through both Twitter and Facebook helped that content reach students and increase awareness of Mason Votes, and different political issues that were being discussed on the campaign trail.

"The content that we had on the website that we ran and we continue to run was the foundation for our success because that was the go-to place for all of our content," Smith said. "The interviews that we did, presidential rallies that we covered, [and] the live election night coverage, none of that would have been possible with a lackluster website."

Mason Votes will receive the Democracy Cup Award at a statewide gathering on April 19 at Mason's Arlington campus. The event will be organized by the CEEP in an effort to learn better practices for engaging students in the major upcoming elections, according to Smith.

Smith gave most of the credit of the organization's success to his fellow team members, as well as others that assisted their organization.

"It wouldn't have been possible without them and without the other people who helped us, especially the different professors that helped us in some of our content," Smith said. "It'll be nice to see everybody and share our memories of what we were able to do, and that we were able to do it at mason just makes it even more special."

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