Strengthening Justice: Suheyli Sanches Selected to the 2023 ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll
By Hayden Bergman
Ask 100 people what democracy is, and you’ll likely get 100 answers, with notions such as freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, consent of the governed, and deliberation each being mentioned. Such variance is, in part, a function of democracy itself, as that form of government engenders the very things that are simultaneously healthy and, at times, uncomfortable: disagreement, discord, and divergent opinions.
That said, there is one thing that consistently unites definitions of democracy: engagement. Without an engaged populace, the governed relinquish their rights, and are instead ruled by the whims of those who seek positions of power with their own self-interests in mind, regardless of political affiliation.
Thankfully, UHD is at the forefront of ensuring voter engagement takes place, as Suheyli Sanches, an International Business Honors Student in the Marilyn Davies College of Business (MDCOB), was recently selected for the 2023 ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll. One of only 175 students nationwide selected for this honor, Sanches was recognized for the work she’s done to increase nonpartisan student voter participation at UHD.
When asked what the barriers to voting for UHD students were, Sanches said, “One of the biggest [barriers to voting] was a lack of information. A lot of students don’t know where these polling locations are, or they don’t have that information until it’s too late.” In the face of this lack of information, Sanches didn’t idle—she acted. As part of her involvement with the student organization Campus Vote Project, Sanches and her fellow students hosted Voting Fest, a nonpartisan event that brought together all the student organizations on campus, regardless of mission, demographics, or political views, in an effort to increase turnout and education. Sanches said their message for the event was simple: “Go vote.”
Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, said that “this year’s honorees played a crucial part in registering and empowering student voters ahead of last year’s midterm elections, resulting in historic turnout among young voters. We are excited to watch these students continue to change the world.”
Despite what she admits is a “surreal and overwhelming” acknowledgment of her work, Sanches isn’t resting on her laurels. Her focus now is to increase voter turnout among younger students (those classified as freshmen or sophomores), and to leave a legacy of civic engagement here at UHD. “My goal and hope are that someone else sees my work, and they want to continue it.” Here’s to that.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students, boasts more than 64,000 alumni, and offers 46 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences & Technology. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution, and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.