illustration by Ren Rader
Trinity Volleyball may not have the chance to compete against other schools this semester, but the Athletic Department gave them the chance to compete against other Trinity teams in the TurboVote Challenge. The athletic department partnered with the TU 2020 Census & Voter Engagement Task Force to challenge Trinity’s Athletic teams to register for TurboVote, and Volleyball won with 100% of their players registered to use TurboVote.
TurboVote is a website that provides assistance in voter registration and requesting an absentee ballot, as well as important election information through either text or email. The team with the highest percentage of student-athletes who signed up with the platform by Sept. 30th would be rewarded with a spotlight from TU Athletics Social Media and the Trinitonian. Volleyball’s full participation that led to victory in the competition is a point of pride for Assistant Volleyball Coach Brindl Langley.
“As a Coach it shows how important our players take their civic duty because they understand that voting is the key to making change in this world. It truly is remarkable that we had 100% voting as a team and it is a reflection of how seriously they take being a part of the solution during these very chaotic times. I am truly proud of our players and know that they will continue to impact the world they live in,” Langley said.
One of the big ways to inspire people into civic duty is through community. For the Athletic Department, as Langley explained, engaging the community means competition.
“The sheer competitiveness of this department is the culprit behind inspiring our varsity teams to vote. Without competition it is just another mundane task of the day and our student athletes are already busy as it is, but if you make it a competition with a winner at the end, most, if not all teams, will come to compete, especially for something so important as voting,” Langley explained.
According to Brette Thornton, sophomore middle-blocker, a competitive spirit is an integral part of being on the volleyball team encouraged by head coach Julie Jenkins.
“I think [a competitive spirit] is definitely something Coach Jenkins has instilled in us, if we didn’t have it before we joined the team. She’s very competitive and I think it rubs off on us in a good way. We want to do our best in everything that we can, so the TurboVote challenge was just another opportunity to show how competitive the volleyball team is at Trinity,” Thornton said.
Outside of a chance to compete, Thornton also found that TurboVote was helpful in preparing for the upcoming election.
“[TurboVote] made it super simple to register. I initially signed up and they sent me the application I needed to submit to the local election office here, […] it even already had the election office address on the envelope, so I just put it in that envelope and sent it off, which made it super easy.” Thornton explained. “Since then, I’ve gotten emails with further details on where to vote and what time period state offices are open for voting, for early voting and Election Day itself. So it’s been really helpful, but also not annoying. I don’t get an email from them everyday with all this unnecessary information.”
Emma Funk, junior middle-blocker, also found the platform helpful in creating her voting plan for November.
“[TurboVote] had actually sent me my voter registration to change to Texas, and had a lot of information to help me choose—because I’m from Mississippi—whether I was going to do a mail-in ballot or just register for Texas because I’m a student here. That was really helpful, and constantly getting updates about when deadlines are and things like that. So it’s been helpful, and it’s easy to use,” said Funk.
Facilitating voter registration and civic engagement for Trinity student-athletes was the primary goal of the TurboVote challenge. According to Langley, encouraging players to engage in civic duty is one of the many jobs of a coach.
“I think it is tremendously important to use our platform as coaches to instill in our players not only the fundamentals of the game but to stress how important being an activist for the rights you believe in and contributing to your responsibility as a patron of the country we live in are. These young women are the next generations to instill change and so being a coach is an incredible opportunity to make sure they know how much power they hold,” Langley said.
In Funk’s opinion, empowering student-athletes through civic duty is an important part of preparing them them to be constructive citizens after leaving the world of college sports.
“[A] big portion of [Division] III Athletics is that we’re not going to do anything with athletics afterwards probably, so [it is important that the department is] helping us grow into being citizens in the future and being aware and well-rounded and not only having an identity in athletics, but in different leadership roles and also participating in your community—and a big portion of that is through voting and voter advocacy,” Funk said. “So It think that, especially with this TurboVote challenge, it’s kind of like calling Trinity athletes to be more than just an athlete, to be a little more three-dimensional and a little bit more dynamic, and [… to start] thinking about things other than practices, weights and school.”
TurboVote is not just a resource for student-athletes. If you are struggling to create a plan to vote this November or just want to receive helpful information about Election Day, consider following the example of the volleyball team and using TurboVote by going to https://trinity.turbovote.org/.