Ben Leavitt is a second-year student at the University of Michigan, working to increase on-campus voter participation through his work as the Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassador with U-M's Edward Ginsberg Center. Ben also serves on the Ginsberg Center’s Student Advisory Board, specializing as a Community Engagement Grants evaluation team member. Previously interning with a legal nonprofit organization specializing in domestic violence as well as an immigration law firm, he remains committed to the intersection of social justice and the legal system as he conducts his ongoing work related to student voter turnout. Looking ahead, Ben will take on new research-oriented roles with U-M's Creative Campus Voting Project and the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse at the University of Michigan Law School.
As I have become increasingly involved in student voter engagement at Michigan, I have learned to deeply appreciate the importance of community-oriented change as having the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of student voters, challenging the media’s much stronger emphasis on national election cycles. The recent electoral redistricting efforts in Michigan have further revealed the paramount importance of grassroots involvement at the state and local levels, encouraging me to become increasingly dedicated to community-focused voter outreach efforts. I have always been deeply interested in political issues, and my term as Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassador on behalf of the University of Michigan and the Ginsberg Center has opened the door for me to become involved in additional student voter participation efforts. As a member of the Ginsberg Center’s Democratic Engagement Team, I have been able to contribute to a framework for campus voter engagement that involves both Ann Arbor community stakeholders and students representing a variety of colleges at the University of Michigan. Beginning in the winter of 2022, I will further contribute to the Ginsberg Center’s voter engagement mission as a member of the ad hoc group convened in preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.