USHLI announces Project SED, a virtual civics classroom slated to reach 1.5 million students in 2012

Posted on 12/14/2011 @ 08:30 AM

Tags: Hispanic strategy

Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy) uses latest in social media and on-line engagement technology to educate and engage new and future voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) introduced Project SED, a virtual classroom bringing civics education to the age of social media. The project is the boldest in USHLI’s 20-year history and aims to reach 1.5 million students in 2012 alone. The students will learn about federal and state elections, participate in mock elections, and interact with peers online and with mobile phones.

"We are very excited to launch Project SED. The annual USHLI conference will turn 30 this year—we have seen major technological advances throughout our tenure, and we have seen how successful students can be when we provide them with the necessary tools to stay active and engaged in their communities locally and nationally," said Dr. Juan Andrade, president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. "If we want to promote civic engagement and encourage young people to vote we must put the power in their hands—specifically, cell phones and other electronic devices. It's the way the world communicates and USHLI will remain at the forefront."

Dr. Juan Andrade

Dr. Juan Andrade

Project SED (Students for an Educated Democracy) first began as a civics education program in the Chicago area nearly 15 years ago. Today it expands to computers, mobile phones, and social networks spanning the country. After studying gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections, students will discuss issues and candidates, trade the latest political humor, and then vote in a mock election. Students turning 18 years old by election day will receive information on registering to vote.

“This ambitious project takes participating in our democracy out of the classroom and into the lives of today’s students: on Facebook or Twitter and by text or email,” said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of technology company Plus Three. “At Plus Three we are delighted to lend our technology expertise to this crucial project. Discussing political issues and casting a ballot are key tenants of American life. The next generation of voters is well served by integrating civics education where they live, learn, and interact—online.”

USHLI is a Chicago-based national non-profit tax-exempt organization whose mission is to promote civic engagement, social integration, research, leadership development, redistricting and financial literacy. USHLI was incorporated in 1982 in Illinois as the Midwest Voter Registration Education Project, and changed its name to the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in 1996.