Every DePaul athlete registered to vote in Big East initiative


DePaul Athletics

DePaul junior midfielder Patrick Watkins dribbles the ball past a UIC defender in 2019.

DePaul became the first university in the Big East to reach 100 percent of its athletes registered to vote in the upcoming Nov. 3 election, the athletic department announced on Wednesday. 

All 11 institutions in the Big East are taking part in the Rise To Win voter registration challenge, with the Blue Demons becoming the first school to have every eligible student-athlete register to vote. 

Congratulations on being the first school to reach the finish line,” said BIG EAST Senior Director of Compliance Michael Sainte in a statement on DePaul Athletics’ website. “It is much appreciated. This past summer, the BIG EAST Conference SAAC made it a point to raise awareness around the importance of civic engagement. The impending census and presidential election provided opportunities to do just that. DePaul took this challenge and ran with it, empowering its student-athletes along the way. It was a total team effort, and I want to extend a huge thank-you to the DePaul Athletics family for their urgency.”

Every DePaul team has been putting out messages on their social media accounts encouraging people to register to vote during the last couple of months. As well as putting out messages on social media, teams have been having conversations about the importance of voting — which is another reason why the Blue Demons have been able to reach the 100 percent mark. 

“I was able to vote in the past election, but even then when I was in high school it never was really talked about other than with my family and friends,” track and field senior Margaret Hastings said. “My sports environment then and the teachers it wasn’t necessarily something as talked about as it is now. DePaul has made a lot of efforts to raise awareness on the importance of voting, with social media and emails, and making it kind of fun because they were trying to get everyone 100 percent registered to vote. I’m glad they are raising awareness on the importance of voting.” 

The men’s basketball team all registered to vote on the same day on Aug. 27 as part of the initiative to get more athletes to vote in November. 

The Big East also has the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) that is made up of two student-athletes, one male and one female, from all 11 even schools. Over the summer, the committee identified voter registration and civic engagement as two important topics of discussion for the 2020-21 academic year. 

With those two topics coming at the forefront, the conference has been encouraging each athletic department to work with their student-athletes to engage in these areas. Providence became the second team in the conference to have 100 percent eligible student-athletes register to vote. 

We just have to continue plugging away at it, and to not give up,” men’s soccer midfielder Patrick Watkins said. “That’s what they want — they want our voices to be quiet, but we can’t. We have to be louder.”