Usjid Hameed ’17 to receive award for his work with the Andrew Goodman Foundation
As a political science major, Usjid Hameed was heavily involved with the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility.
His work there caught the attention of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which recruited him as Vote Everywhere Ambassador and Team Leader.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation helps young people become active in politics, with a focus on getting college students registered to vote. As a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, Hameed helped to register over 700 new voters at TU.
Because of his dedication to voting rights and social justice, Hameed will receive one of the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s 2018 Hidden Heroes Awards. The awards honor volunteers who have demonstrated commitment to expanding civic engagement at their campus and surrounding community.
“I wanted to register my fellow students to vote because I felt it was the right thing to do,” Hameed said. “As someone who understood the importance of civic engagement, it was my duty to help them understand the importance of the vote, and how they could help bring about change in society.”
During his time at TU, the former College of Liberal Arts commencement speaker collaborated with offices like Greek Life, campus clubs and organizations, and the Office of Housing and Residence Life. He’s also behind innovative programming like the Wheel of Wokeness.
The Wheel of Wokeness is a prize wheel divided into different categories related to civic engagement or current events. Contestants spun the wheel and had a conversation with Hameed about whichever topic the arrow landed on. The Wheel of Wokeness was so popular that other Vote Everywhere campuses adopted the program.
“The wheel provided a way for us to have a more in-depth conversation about what was going on either in the country or around the world and not be tethered to the classic ‘Hey, are you registered to vote,’” Hameed said. “Following this exercise, I would chat with them about voter registration. Given that they had been primed through the wheel, they were more receptive to information as it pertained to voting.”
After graduating from TU in spring 2017, Hameed moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he serves as the public affairs coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Columbus Chapter.
He also continues to work with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, serving as a Puffin Democracy Fellow and focusing on voter access for non-native English speakers. His Expanding the Ballot project provides Election Day language assistance to voters who lack proficiency in English.
When asked why he continues to work with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Hameed said he was inspired by the civil rights activist the foundation was named after. He also enjoys working with other young people involved with the foundation.
“I was so honored to work for the organization as an undergraduate, I could not pass up the opportunity to work as a fellow,” Hameed said. “The other Puffin Democracy Fellows give me so much hope. In such a troubling time, knowing and regularly interacting with other committed young people gives me energy and reassures me that our country will uplift the better angels of its nature.”
The Hidden Heroes Award Ceremony takes place on Friday, July 13, at Ramapo College of New Jersey. The ceremony will be part of the fourth annual National Civic Leadership Training Summit, which is hosted by The Andrew Goodman Foundation each summer to train Vote Everywhere Ambassadors for the coming academic year.