OGDEN -- Javier Chavez stood in the hallway of a Weber State University building, passing out voter guides, and wondered how many students would take the time to cast a ballot.
On Thursday, all of the guides he and others had were gone.
Chavez, a WSU junior, is part of a group of students working to make local election information available to anyone who wants it.
The information booklet, titled the "2010 Weber County Elections Guide," was produced in cooperation with the Weber County League of Women Voters and two other organizations.
It's one of several election guides available in the Top in Utah that people can pick up at a Weber County library or on WSU's campus. There also is an online version of the "2010 Weber County Elections Guide."
For Chavez, being part of the guide project fits into a professional future he is aiming for in helping shape public policy in government, or elsewhere.
"Being able to implement change, or implement some sort of policy battle that will benefit others, is my chief goal," said Chavez, 21, who lives on campus but is from Salt Lake City.
The effort to get students like Chavez involved in the community is under the auspices of two WSU political science professors, both working in different ways to engage young adults in places such as Weber and Davis counties.
Leah Murray, a WSU associate professor, offered optional course credit for her students to help get the guide off the ground. Other students connected to the effort through campus organizations.
"It is our job, the older generation, to teach the younger generation how to get politically involved," Murray said.
The project coordinators decided to focus on candidates just at the county level and below, and 22 of 30 candidates responded to the questionnaire for the guide.
More than 600 guides were eventually printed with answers to various topics.
Another avenue for participation is directly in the mechanics of the political process: working the polls.
Gary Johnson, another WSU professor, enticed his students to get involved by offering course credit.
The result: Students swamped Pat Beckstead, the Davis County elections director, with applications to be poll workers.
She ended up with at least 100 students she could not use to help with the polling. But around 50 WSU students will help staff the precincts.
"It's exciting to see this many young people involved," Beckstead said.
Johnson said students also were chosen to work the Weber County polls. He hopes to keep the option available in years ahead.
"We want a new generation of people to administer elections and understand elections," he said.
Chavez said it hasn't been easy to get students interested in the races.
Presidential years attract attention, but he believes congressional elections do not generally generate conversation on campus or interest in the process.
"It's difficult to get a lot of students to even consider it," he said.
But Chavez reports that the Weber Student Association helped 1,700 students get registered this year, and the guide will likely end up in some of their hands.
Murray and Johnson each said their current generation of students has trouble staying informed or generating enough interest to vote.
But Chavez said he talks about statewide budget problems or the state money that ends up in higher education, and the guide probably goes out the door.