Get Registered to Vote at Burgers & Ballots

Dr. Chris Kavanau

Contributing Writer

I am pleased to report on a recent voter registration initiative, Burgers & Ballots, launched by East Stroudsburg University’s faculty & coaches union, APSCUF (Association of Pennsylvania State Colleges and University Faculties), representing faculty and coaches at Pennsylvania’s public universities. These events were a hit with students who loved the delicious BBQ cookouts, live entertainment and nonpartisan student speakers showcasing talent. Students appreciated registering with friendly volunteer assistance.   

The initiative sought to increase voter registration and civic participation. The six events, finishing last October, helped over 400 students register for the consequential 2022 PA Midterm Election. Thanks to the combined grassroots effort of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administration, they were a massive success. The live music atmosphere and aromatic BBQs brought people together around 1,200 delicious burgers, vege-burgers, and nearly as many hotdogs.   

Because some don’t know the process of registering, some can become discouraged from electoral participation. These events confronted this challenge head-on, making the registration process seamless, in a relaxed, engaging, and fun atmosphere. By facilitating voter registration, we empowered more students to participate in democracy.     

Live performances were key to the events’ success. Students and volunteers enjoyed listening to artists including Latin Grammy nominee singer/producer, Ian Holmes, and a brilliant rock band led by ESU’s Associate Dean, Maria Kitchens-Kintz. Most memorable, incredible BBQs! Burgers were flipped by a true BBQ master, leaving many stunned. The VP of APSCUF’s ESU Chapter, Dr. Chris Kavanau (Author), organized/spearheaded these events. 

Burgers & Ballots demonstrated the power of grassroots activism, mobilizing students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administration. I hope to see more such initiatives. Vital for a vibrant democracy is engaging community in the democratic process. Your vote matters. Your voice is important. Participating in the democratic process is crucial to ensure our voices are recognized, and our concerns addressed.  

Dr. Kavanau serves as VP of APSCUF at ESU, is an ESU Assistant Professor of Biology, computational neuroscientist, teaches A&P and directs the Pre-PT Concentration. 

Email Dr. Kavanau at