UNH ‘sock off’ teaches students about media’s role in election while helping others

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WEST HAVEN -- Students at the University of New Haven are heading into Election Day feet first, and their teachers are making it part of their assignment.

To energize students for the presidential vote, two UNH teachers in the communications department are combining a learning lesson with a good deed, and have asked them to help the homeless simply by donating socks. "This is the Election Day Sock Off," said Steve Raucher, a communications professor at UNH.

Professor Raucher and distinguished lecturer Susan Campbell are using a sock donation as the prerequisite for their students to enter their Election Day contest, where students are being challenged to pick which media outlet will call the election first -- and at what time.

"At first blush it seems like something goofy," Campbell said. "But socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters."

The sock collection is being gathered for Columbus House, a New Haven shelter.

Van Foley, a UNH freshman, dropped off a pair of socks and said, "You're raising awareness... that's a plus for everyone."

Raucher said the election day "Sock Off" is serving as a teachable moment for his students in numerous ways: "It's absolutely more than a pair of socks, it's involvement, it's the participation in something that's bigger than they are."

Click here to learn more about the Columbus House.