NATION'S LEADING VOTER REGISTRATION GROUPS JOIN FORCES WITH MYSPACE FOR
"ULTIMATE COLLEGE BOWL" TO REGISTER COLLEGE STUDENTS TO VOTE
Death Cab for Cutie to Headline Free Concert for Winning College
Guitar Hero To Provide Scholarships for Winning Students
MySpace, the world's premier social network, and five of the leading voter registration and civic groups in the U.S. today announced a partnership to launch the Ultimate College Bowl, a contest that will award scholarships and a free concert with Death Cab for Cutie to the students and school that register the most students to vote. This nationwide effort constitutes the largest voter registration drive ever devised using viral online technology and grassroots organizing coupled with incentives, all in an attempt to get schools and students competing to register the most voters. The contest will be run via an application and widget available to all college students at www.myspace.com/ultimatecollegebowl.
This is the first time America's four largest non-partisan voter registration groups – Declare Yourself, HeadCount, Student PIRGs, and Rock the Vote – as well as Why Tuesday?, a leading voter education organization, have joined forces to register voters. Incentives include scholarships to students who get the most friends to register to vote, provided by Guitar Hero; a chance for students from every state to become a "delegate" at the Constitutional Convention 2.0 at the National Constitution Center in January 2009, in Philadelphia; and concerts for the school whose students register the most by number and by percentage of student body, funded by Phone Tag. Seattle-based Death Cab for Cutie, fresh off their No. 1 album Narrow Stairs, has agreed to perform at the campus with the highest registration totals.
The contest utilizes the latest online viral technology to allow students to register to vote and receive credit for all of their peers whom they register. An application, built on MySpace's developer platform, is available for MySpace users and an embeddable widget is available for placement on other sites. Declare Yourself, HeadCount and Rock the Vote, the three leading youth voter-oriented registration organizations, are making the application available on their respective websites. The technology and contest rules also allow for groups staging on-the-ground voter registration, including the Student PIRG's, to participate. Every college student and every college campus in the U.S. has the ability to compete.
"MySpace has always been an open platform for self expression and civic engagement," said Lee Brenner, Director of MySpace IMPACT. "As such, we're thrilled to host the UCB and bring together an historic alliance of civic organizations who are using music and accessible viral technology to motivate college students to participate and encourage their peers to do the same."
"College students are one of the most underrepresented constituencies in America. The Ultimate College Bowl is an effort to make American democracy more accessible and sustainable," says William B. Wachtel, Founder and Chairman of Why Tuesday?, which conceived the Ultimate College Bowl and is coordinating the partners' efforts. "Our goal is to ensure the voice of college students is heard now and forever on. We expect the results to be momentous."
Red Octane, a division of Activision Inc. will use the 14 campus stops on its Guitar Hero promotional tour to highlight the UCB campaign, and provide Guitar Hero software and hardware as contest incentives. MTV's Emmy award-winning Choose or Lose campaign, which aims to engage, inform and empower young voters on the political issues that matter to them most, is also on board to help spread the word about this contest to young people across the country. On September 4, 2008, the Ultimate College Bowl officially launched on MTV's Total Request Live (TRL) with special guest Hayden Panettiere. Additionally, MTV will promote the contest on multiple MTV platforms, including on its 24-hour college network, mtvU, which currently broadcasts to over 750 college campuses.
Voter registration and civic participation is a key component of the MySpace IMPACT Channel which empowers MySpace users to make a difference in the world and allows politicians, non-profits, and civic organizations to connect with MySpace's global audience. The IMPACT Channel houses the official MySpace profiles for the 2008 Presidential candidates, as well as tools to enable voter registration, fundraising, and volunteering.