By Madeline Marriott

Dimitri Chernozhukov ’25 smiles

Dimitri Chernozhukov ’25 wants you to vote. 

In fact, he has made increasing civic engagement on campus his mission since coming to Lafayette. As a student director for the Landis Center for Community Engagement’s Lafayette Votes!, president of the College Republicans, and a leader of the Bipartisan Coalition, Chernozhukov has made his mark on campus political action clubs. 

It’s this dedication that earned him the 2024 Newman Civic Fellowship, a yearlong program through Campus Compact that helps students foster their ability to impact social change. Fellows can attend networking events and professional development sessions throughout their tenure. 

Chernozhukov credits Lafayette’s tight-knit community with giving him the chance to have a real impact on student civic engagement. 

“If you put in the work for any of these clubs or organizations on such a small campus, you’re really able to go far,” Chernozhukov says. “You’re able to form all of these functional relationships with other leaders, and even through your classes you’ll get to know all these people who are also really involved.” 

Creating dialogue between campus organizations and those of varying political affiliations has been an important part of Chernozhukov’s mission. In his time running meetings for the Bipartisan Coalition, a group founded in 2022 with the goal of finding political issues important to all students, Chernozhukov worked on communications with members of Congress regarding nuclear energy and fentanyl test strips. 

Additionally, he has made a point to reach across the aisle to collaborate with leaders of the College Democrats through hosting co-sponsored events. 

Dimitri Chernozhukov ’25 smiles

Mark Crain, economics professor and chair of the policy studies program, recalled Chernozhukov’s spirit of bipartisanship when he and other Lafayette students appeared on Party Clashers, a game show on PBS39 that pitted the College Republicans and Democrats against each other in a test of their political knowledge. 

“Dimitri’s enthusiasm for political engagement is infectious,” Crain says. “While both teams were highly competitive, the spirit of civility in the studio was heartwarming. We need much more of that civility in politics today, and Dimitri is leading the way.” 

Caroline Lee, professor of sociology and faculty director for Landis Center for Community Engagement, who works closely with Lafayette Votes!, recommended that Chernozhukov apply for the fellowship and credited him with “totally transforming the relationship between Lafayette’s College Republicans and College Democrats.” 

To Chernozhukov, voting is a vital component of democracy that can bring people together. “Voting is the foundation for most further political involvement for anyone. It’s a fundamental aspect of democracy that is probably less polarized than many other aspects of political debate—both the College Democrats and the College Republicans are on the same page about it.” 

Last November, Chernozhukov and the members of Lafayette Votes! helped to register over 200 students in addition to hosting debate watch parties and faculty panels. This continues the organization’s legacy of helping to drastically increase voter turnout on College Hill—after robust registration efforts by the group leading up to the 2020 election, Lafayette’s election participation skyrocketed to 82.9%, significantly outpacing both the national average and the school’s own previous records. 

“In a small academic community such as ours, the fact that engaged students of all political persuasions joined together in person to empower both citizens and noncitizens to be involved in politics has been transformative,” Lee adds.

Categorized in: Academic News, Featured News, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students

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