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Autumn Johnson | October 30, 2020

How women's college basketball is making an Election 2020 impact

Lauren McNamara-Clement: 'We have a voice and it's important to use it'

An important stat has already been recorded for many women’s college basketball teams across the country: 100 percent registered to vote.

Voting and civic engagement has been a main topic for the Student-Athlete Engagement Group because of social injustice. The SAEG is a new group designed to "serve as an amplifying voice for women’s basketball on key initiatives, legislation and various issues." It's made up of one student-athlete from all 32 conferences.

When the NCAA Division I Council adopted student-athlete proposed legislation to prohibit games and practices on Election Day, SAEG's 32 representatives saw an opportunity to ensure all programs rallied behind the initiative in addition to having the resources and support to vote.

Lauren McNamara-Clement, the Big South's representative for SAEG and a forward at Campbell University in North Carolina, describes the day off as a historic moment for all student-athletes to make a difference.

“We realize that we are more than an athlete,” she said. “We have a voice and it’s important to use it. Beyond just being an athlete, there’s so many things in this world that we can impact by just going out and voting.”

There are different ways McNamara-Clements and her teammates are doing just that. She related the story of visiting freshmen first-time voters on her team and seeing them with their absentee ballots. McNamara-Clement, from nearby Raleigh, voted early in person.

“That feeling of walking out of voting in-person this past weekend left me feeling empowered," she said.

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The program is taking it a step further. The team is involved in the NCAA Social Media Campaign for Diversity and Inclusion to continue the conversation of being an informed voter. They hope to keep the momentum going beyond Election Day by reaching a bigger audience.

“It’s more than just than our athletic department," McNamara-Clement said. "(It's) finding ways to get involved with the campus as a whole working to engage our community — not just certain athletes. Use your voice, go vote and know that it’s your vote. That’s something that belongs to you, so take it and run with it."

 

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