In its most recent edition, the Washington Monthly magazine included Suffolk University on its 2020 list of America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting.

A total of 157 institutions across the nation made the list. The magazine looked at school-specific student voting action plans, registration numbers, turnout rates for participating campuses, and other factors.

It’s no surprise that we are on the list. Participating is what we do. That includes faculty and staff members who are actively engaging students in the democratic process, and students themselves, who are energized and continuously working to engage their peers.

This kind of engagement is at the core of who we are. It also gives me an opportunity to remind you – especially our students – to continue to engage in the political process this fall.

In the midst of a pandemic that has had major impacts on our political and electoral processes, that engagement is more important than ever. Whether you are Republican, a Democrat, support a third party, or are an independent; whether you consider yourself liberal, moderate, or conservative, you have a stake in the future of government at every level. Do your homework. Decide who to support, register if you haven’t already, and exercise your right to vote.

Suffolk University is defined by many things, including our historic mission of access and opportunity, our commitment to experiential learning, and the individual attention faculty and staff give to our students. We are defined by the transformational power of a Suffolk education and its ability to help our graduates achieve their personal and professional goals. We also are rightly defined by our commitment to the public sphere.

Our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our students engage in their communities and are a force for good through their professional work, their volunteer engagement, their research, and their participation. We do not just sit on the sidelines.

For our international students or others who may not be eligible to vote in Massachusetts, this message applies to you as well. You, too, have opportunities to impact the public sphere, whether here in the United States or elsewhere across the globe.

It would be easy with all that is going on in the world to become overwhelmed by the weight of our problems – COVID-19 and its economic impact, racism and injustice, climate change – but I see across our community so many examples of people taking action rather than being overwhelmed. They are stepping up and working towards solutions. Engagement is key.

Participate. It is the Suffolk way.



Marisa J. Kelly