The Tackling Inclusion, Diversity and Equality, or TIDE, engagement group has played an instrumental role in supplying Lehigh student-athlete’s the tools and resources needed to educate the athletic community on the upcoming election.
To motivate athletes to vote, TIDE serves as a safe space for Lehigh’s student-athletes to learn, grow and have conversations to create a sense of community deeper within the athletic department.
TIDE co-captain and senior women’s basketball guard Mary Clougherty is a driving force behind the voting initiative to educate student-athletes on campus about important political implications and candidates by starting the conversation amongst her fellow TIDE members and their teams.
Clougherty and the network of athletes are using their relationships to promote conversation around voting by speaking to friends and family and interacting on social media.
Amid this election season, it has been TIDE’s priority to urge all student-athletes to register to vote. Each member of TIDE serves as their team’s point person who relays important information and pushes their teams to register to vote.
For Clougherty and other student-athletes, this is the first presidential election they are eligible to vote in.
“I’m a senior in college, and I can relate to a lot of the student-athletes because it’s most of our first time voting in the presidential election,” Clougherty said.
To settle the nerves of first-time voters, senior women’s volleyball outside hitter Sabrina Lancaster, a TIDE representative for her team, has walked her teammates through the process herself.
Within the current political atmosphere, Lancaster believes it is her responsibility to use her resources, leadership skills and passion to initiate political change and increase voter participation among her generation.
“Is it important to vote because it is our civic duty, and it is one of the most efficient ways to make change,” Lancaster said. “Now that we are at an age where our voice matters, we will have to live with the consequences of the future.”
TIDE is showcasing people’s voices of reason and other forms of activism on their social media platforms to motivate fellow student-athletes and encourage participation within the community.
“It’s powerful to listen to peoples’ reasons for why they vote,” said senior women’s track and field TIDE representative Brianna Wanbaugh.
The social media initiative has created a competitive edge meant to inspire teams to be 100 percent registered to participate in the election.
Teams that have met that goal include men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, baseball, softball, women’s cross country, women’s track and field, men’s and women’s lacrosse and women’s golf.
As a part of the women’s basketball team, Clougherty has been inspired to initiate a difference by exercising the voice TIDE has encouraged her to share.
She converses with her teammates directly to encourage them to learn and grow. By facilitating conversions within her team, Clougherty hopes to have a positive impact on her teammates by encouraging them to have one-on-one conversations with others and raise awareness in the best nonpartisan way they can.
With Nov. 3 quickly approaching, the next essential step after registering is to actually vote.
Wanbaugh stresses the importance for everyone to participate in not just the coming presidential election but also the local elections that will follow.
“I want everyone to exercise their right whether they are passionate about the election or not,” Wanbaugh said. “For anyone reading this story, remember that although you may not feel directly impacted, anyone you know could be impacted by the decisions you make today.”