Getting Out the Vote on Campus
Amaya Fox ’21 turned to the McCarthy Center and the politics department to find her role in on-campus activism
Growing up in Tacoma, Washington, Amaya Fox '21 learned about serving others by volunteering at her mother’s literacy and arts nonprofit. At USF, she sought the same type of volunteer work at the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good — the hub of most of USF's service-learning offerings. That's where she learned about USFVotes. Now, she's registering USF students to vote and educating them about the midterm elections.
USF News spoke with Fox to learn more about USFVotes and her passion for volunteering.
What is USFVotes?
It is a nonpartisan organization here at USF that is run by the Leo T. McCarthy Center and the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Our aim is to register eligible voters on campus, educate students on all things politics and U.S. government, and create a culture of civic engagement here at USF.
I think that one of the most important and effective ways to fix injustice and change government is to do it from within. That is why I ran for and was elected as the freshman representative for the student senate (ASUSF).
Have you always been civically engaged?
Since my mom founded Write253, a literacy and arts nonprofit in Tacoma, I have seen firsthand the lack of equal funding for public schools. Write253 puts on events like poetry slams, books clubs, and writing workshops to encourage young people to express themselves through the written word. Its main targets are underserved families who want their children to receive a quality education. So you might say my mother inspired me.
I love the Jesuit values around social justice and devoting your life to something bigger than yourself. I knew that with USF I could build on those values and learn more about them and immerse myself in social justice and advocacy work. And going to school in San Francisco was obviously a plus.
What drew you to major in politics?
I started at USF as a communications major. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go into government. But I went to speak with politics Professor Elisabeth Jay Friedman. She explained how the program’s courses focus on cultivating a global perspective instead of just learning about the nitty-gritty of government operations. Right now, I am taking an immigration course that is doing a good job of breaking down this hot-button issue. With everything going on, it’s hard to get a grasp of what is really happening. So, I think this program is really progressive in comparison to a lot of other programs around the country.