Since March, senior Odochi Akwani has been leading a campaign and building a team to encourage young Nebraskans to vote in the upcoming election.
The NE Young Voters campaign is an effort to engage the younger generation with civics and provide them with resources to participate in voting, according to Akwani, Rabble Media GOTV project coordinator, and a senior journalism and advertising and public relations double major at UNL.
“Youth turnout is historically low, and our goal in sharing this campaign is to rewrite that,” Akwani said in an email. “It’s important for young people to be involved in civics, at least in some way, because we are paving the future for ourselves. Once we get young Nebraskans engaged now, they will hopefully vote in future elections.”
Akwani said she and her team targeted Gen Z with this project using its own language, which they found to be primarily social media. The Rabble Media GOTV team partnered with the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition to participate in National Voter Education Week where the NE Young Voters campaign was shared nationally with all of the Students Learn Students Vote partners.
The campaign features different ways to engage with potential voters to get them interested in civic engagement, such as the website rabblemedia.vote.
Other UNL students developed the website to help individuals navigate through the voting process, according to Akwani. TheNebraska Young Voter Guide is a feature of the website and serves as a way to teach the basics of how voting works.
“We want to communicate that civics doesn’t have to be intimidating or something you avoid in conversation,” Akwani said. “Everyone can participate however small and make a difference in your community.”
A team of about 10 people, all Gen Z, produced the NE Young Voters campaign under Rabble Media, according to Akwani. The campaign received support from partnerships with other civic nonprofit organizations.
Rabble Media was launched in September and is a part of Rabble Mill, which is a nonprofit organization that has developed and launched many programs such as The Bay. Rabble Media was designed to be a “for youth, by youth” storytelling medium to train the younger generation on how to tell digital stories, according to Andrew Norman, co-executive director of Rabble Mill.
Norman helped advise the NE Young Voters campaign and said the campaign might be the first of its kind, being an entirely Gen Z-run project aimed to inform others of the same generation.
The campaign project is non-partisan, according to Norman, and the team worked to get as many registered as possible. Now, they are working to get people to vote.
“We don’t care who you vote for, we just want you to vote,” Norman said.
Norman said he believes that the youth are the best of America, and especially following the events of this summer, have the power and potential to lead the country in a better direction.
“If anyone is frustrated about how the world looks right now, or their government, this is how you change it, you start working within the system,” he said. “If young people did that enough, they could create real change, and I personally hope to see that.”