With the Election season coming up, the political parties on campus are working hard to not just support their party’s campaigns and messages, but also to send a message of their own.
Sophomore and President of the JSU College Democrats Brett A. Johnson said, “It’s very important for young people to get involved politically.”
Sheila Gilbert, Chairperson of the Calhoun County Democrat Committee, spoke at last Wednesday’s College Democrats meeting.”They say ‘I don’t want to get involved with politics because politics don’t involve me,’” Gilbert said. “People better look twice, because if you don’t get involved with politics, they sure get involved with you.”
Gilbert went on to stress the importance of young people’s participation in politics, saying that “the life of the party is with young people.”
“Students here at JSU will take politics seriously. It’s not a dirty word,” said Staff Advisor of the College Republicans Dr. William Lester, “In fact, it’s how we make our decisions as a people and if you don’t get involved in it, you will be led around by somebody who does.”
Both The College Democrats and the College Republicans have started their meetings this semester and are already brainstorming ways to get involved in local and national campaigns, as well as community service projects. Both parties plan on attending the Oct. 16th Presidential Debate Watch Party at the Leone Cole Auditorium at 8 p.m.
Leaders of both organizations are hoping to collaborate on future events. “I am hopeful, and I believe that both the groups, the College Democrats and the College Republicans, can get together and sponsor some events,” said Lester. “I think that learning civility between two groups that disagree on policies, but agree with the overall ideas of the Republic, would be a good thing to teach college students. “
The individual groups are planning to work closely with the campaigns of local and state officials. The College Democrats have placed heavy focus on the election of Bob Vance for the next Alabama Chief Justice. “We see this as a very important election in the 2012 cycle,” said Johnson. “This particular election is arguably for one of the most powerful and influential offices in the state. The Chief Justice and Supreme Court have a lot of potential to change the direction of the state via interpretation of laws passed by the Legislature.”
Both parties stress the importance of informed voters and party participants. “We need to have an informed and active citizenry in order to put good people in office [and] hold them accountable,” Lester said. “The system doesn’t work if you don’t have the fundamentals covered. The fundamentals are an informed and active citizenry, and not just an active citizenry. We want them to be informed.”
“At each meeting we will have a short presentation on some stance the Democratic party has, so [participants] can be informed when [they] go out and talk to people that this is what the Democratic party really stands for and this is why,” Johnson said.
With voting registration coming to a close, both parties are rushing to get students registered. “The demographic 18-25 is the lowest voting group in the United States by a pretty wide margin, so we definitely have some work to,” Lester said.
The College Democrats and College Republicans stress the importance of attending political events to form networks and create references that can potentially impact a student’s resume.
Lester said, “We need good people to get involved, and if we don’t get good people to get involved, then both parties are going to end up getting what they deserve.”
Both organizations have weekly meetings located at Brewer Hall every Wed. The College Republicans meet at 2 p.m. and the College Democrats meet at 6 p.m.