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Leading by Example

by Art U News

By Greta Chiocchetti

For ART U Athletics, a commitment to giving back to the community is a big part of the game—evidenced by over 2,000 community service hours spent over the 2019–2020 academic year by athletes, coaches, and staff members. 

Typically, efforts are focused locally, but this summer, ART U Women’s Basketball took on an issue of national importance: registering themselves—and encouraging their peers—to vote in this year’s election. Inspired by the NCAA’s efforts to facilitate student-athlete voter registration, Head Coach Krystle Evans encouraged her team to be 100% registered in time for the upcoming election. 

“Our team is passionate about being informed about the world around us,” said Evans, who also serves as senior woman administrator for the athletics department and is an instructor. “So, once the NCAA sent along information—particularly stating that we would not be practicing on Election Day this year as we normally do—we decided to move forward and encourage every player on the team to register to vote.” 

For Evans, voting is a deeply personal matter and one that was passed down through the generations in her family. 

“A lot of us [in the African American community] learned to vote from our grandparents; a lot of our grandparents worked at the polling places. From an athletic standpoint, those same grandparents are saying, ‘Okay, you’re going off to college—you need to vote absentee,’ so that was passed down,” Evans explained. “I can remember walking into a polling place, which was a church, with my grandmother at age seven and her showing me how to vote.” 

For most members of the women’s basketball team, the 2020 election will be the first opportunity to have a say in the direction of our government—and they understand how powerful that is. 

“Krystle is always telling us that our voices really matter and that it’s the young people who can really make an impact right now,” said guard Hailey McCoy. “A lot of us checked on our family after we had registered—I checked with my parents to make sure they were. I plan to vote by mail, and I think they do too.” 

Alyssa Munn, a first-semester freshman and new guard for the 2020-2021 season, said she would make a plan to vote ahead of Election Day to ensure that her vote was counted and that she could stay safe amid the still-raging pandemic, although she hadn’t yet decided if she would be voting absentee or in person. 

“I think I’ll make that call as we get closer to the date—especially with all of the scandals going on right now with defunding the USPS. I want to be sure that my vote counts,” said Munn. 

While it may take more planning and preparation than previous elections, Evans stressed the importance of making your voice heard this year. 

“Wherever you are or whatever the challenges may be, we have all got to get out there and vote,” Evans said.

To register to vote, check the status of your voter registration, and learn more about what will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, visit vote411.org.

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