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SUNY Upstate wins Rock the Vote Challenge

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY Upstate Medical University registered the greatest percentage of students to vote in the November 2008 election as part of SUNY-wide Rock the Vote Challenge.

SUNY Upstate registered 31 percent (or 396 students) of its student body to vote, taking top honors as the SUNY campus that registered the greatest percentage of students. SUNY Albany was credited with registering the most students—2,402—or 14 percent of its student body.

Darrick May, a fourth-year medical student who is president of the university's Campus Activities Governing Board, said the vote registration outcome reflects the students awareness and maturity. "Healthcare is such a significant political issue today that students who are studying in this field have a heightened political and civic awareness of the issues," he said.

The Rock the Vote challenge was an effort by United University Professionals (UUP), the New York Public Interest Research Group, the SUNY Student Assembly and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). It included a six-week, nonpartisan voter-registration drive on SUNY campuses.

"In an election with so much emphasis on the youth vote, this voter registration drive took on even greater importance," said UUP President Phillip Smith. "Thousands of students learned a real-life lesson on democracy in helping to determine who our elected leaders would be."

The Rock the Vote Challenge registered more than 16,000 SUNY students across all campuses.