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Union of Concerned Scientists and SACNAS Launch ‘Science Rising Challenge’ to Increase STEM Student Voter Turnout in 2020 Election

Data indicates STEM majors vote at lower rates than students in any other field of study

The Science Rising Challenge is an engaging way for STEM students (and all science advocates) to participate in our democracy through targeted civic engagement activities

SANTA CRUZ, CA & WASHINGTON, DC – In light of the run-up to the 2020 election, the escalating climate crisis, social inequality exacerbating public health inequities, and real threats to science, there is a growing opportunity for STEM students and leaders to raise their voices and draw connections between how science can help solve some of the most pressing problems of our time.

To this end, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) have partnered to present the ‘Science Rising Challenge,’ a fun and engaging way for STEM students, and all science advocates, to participate in the country’s democracy. The challenge also provides tools and tangible ways to make a difference in communities and on campuses throughout different types of civic engagement.

The main goal of the Science Rising Challenge is to increase STEM student turnout for the next election. In 2018, student voter turnout increased significantly, but there is still room for more engagement. Data shows that STEM majors vote at lower rates than students in any other field of study. This means that STEM majors have the greatest opportunity to significantly boost their participation— and the science vote— in the 2020 election.

The Challenge consists of two parts. First, participants must ensure they are registered to vote and have a voting plan in place. Second, participants must complete at least one additional activity in the Challenge, such as recruiting friends to vote, organizing a community or campus event, attending a training, or talking about civic engagement in one of their classes.

“The Science Rising project seeks to help science advocates more explicitly connect science issues with the fight for equity and justice in our society. Right now, powerful decision-makers are actively sidelining science, facts, and evidence for their own political and financial gain at the expense of the public interest. This threatens the health, well-being, and safety for all people. And it compromises justice for the many communities that face disproportionate and growing impacts from air and water pollution, climate change, and food security, among other critical issues. Science, equity, and justice are at the heart of many of the issues we face as a country. As scientists and as participants in our democracy, we need to fight for solutions to the problems we face that are equitable for all in our society” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“As an inclusive organization at the intersection of science, culture and community, SACNAS deeply understands that it is our collective responsibility to rise up and advocate for science, justice, and equity in our democracy. That is why we are excited to be a partner in the Science Rising Network. Whether you’re new to civic engagement or a seasoned activist, we invite you to rise up and take the challenge.” said Dr. Sonia I. Zárate, SACNAS President.

To complete the challenge, students must first:
1. Ensure that they are registered to vote if eligible
2. Have a plan in place to vote, either in person or by mail or absentee ballot

Then, complete any ONE of the following activities:
1. Bring democracy into the classroom
2. Train your brain: Take an in-person or online skills training
3. Triple the science vote: Support three friends
4. Organize an activity or event
5. Elevate your voice: Write an op-ed
5. Engage with a candidate or policymaker

If students aren’t eligible to vote, they can still meaningfully participate in our democracy and complete the Science Rising Challenge. Whether it’s educating their peers, inspiring others, or completing any one of the challenges below, there are many ways to have an impact.

To learn more, visit https://sciencerising.org/challenge/

About the Science Rising Challenge
The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists are the lead organizing partners for the Science Rising Challenge. For more information or questions about the challenge, please email us at MVarga@ucsusa.org.

Science Rising is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates for office. To learn more about Science Rising, please visit our About and FAQ pages.

About SACNAS
For 47 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.

Today, the organization serves a growing community of over 27,000 including 8,000+ members and 115+ student and professional chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. SACNAS influences the STEM diversity movement through STEM outreach & advocacy, promotion of STEM leaders, and The SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. Learn more about SACNAS at sacnas.org, Facebook, or Twitter.

About the Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. Learn more about UCS at ucsusa.org, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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