A Wilkes University student team earned second place in the statewide Draw the Lines competition. The competition tasked teams to remake the map of the state’s legislative districts. The students earned a prize of $250 for second place in the regional category and $2,500 for second place statewide in the higher education division. The students participated in the event after Draw the Lines PA spoke with Wilkes students at an on-campus event.
“Team Wilkes” included sophomores Gregory Chang and William Billingsley and senior Geraldine Ojukwu, who drew their redistricting inspiration after reviewing the infamous Pennsylvania gerrymander, “Goofy kicking Donald.” The students defined their important values for their map as population, contiguity, compactness and county lines. To help voters identify which district they belong to, the students kept counties intact, only crossing county lines when necessary to meet population requirements.
The strategy served team Wilkes well as they were one of 318 map submissions for the competition. The state champion in the higher education category was “Team Geography 421” from Penn State.
Draw The Lines is a project of the Committee of Seventy, a government nonprofit based in Philadelphia. Its three-year initiative is to inform and engage Pennsylvanians about the topic of gerrymandering and democratic reform. Each Draw The Lines region has its own nonpartisan steering committee, made up of civic, education and business leaders from that region.