AU political clubs look to kick off this semester with new projects, new members
The AU College Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians are planning a year full of activities, internships and guest speakers.
The AU Democrats' first meeting was attended by over 300 people, and President Noah Black explained the fall lineup that will include holding community service events in the D.C. area on Oct. 11 and Nov. 8.
They will also be going to Democracy Day at George Washington University Tuesday, and campaign trips to Northern Virginia and Philadelphia have been planned as well.
If Black was one of the major leaders of the Democratic Party, he says he would focus more on activism.
"I believe it is vital for the Democratic Party to replace rhetoric with action," Black said. "With the Bush administration cutting so many necessary social programs, if the Democratic Party could show that it is for more than just giving money to programs but playing vital roles in those programs it would be able to rally swing voters and show non-voters that politics is more than just policy."
Black plans to make this year different from any other by expanding the number of executive positions to create more personal policies and programs. With an active membership of around 300, the AU Democrats now have the ability to make a positive impact in the programs it plans, Black said.
The College Republicans began their year with a meeting on Aug. 27. At the meeting, President Ibbie Hedrick discussed this fall's activities, which include a celebration at Shelley's Back Room, near Metro Center, on Sept. 25. The celebration, Republicalooza, brings fellow College Republicans together for an evening of food and guest speakers from the Republican Party.
Hedrick is an active member of her chosen party. If she were one of the major leaders of her political party, she would become more focused on the state of education in this country.
"I think that the Republican Party has shown a lot of concern about this issue but has been recently distracted (understandably so) by foreign policy issues and the after effects of 9-11," Hedrick said.
"I would call for an immediate overhaul of the public education system, looking into alternatives such as school choice and vouchers so that we can help as many children as we can."
Hedrick plans to make the College Reupublicans' year special by maintaining a high level of grassroots programming with emphasis on community service and social events, especially with the Student Confederation, AU's student government and the AU Democrats.
The AU Libertarians plan to debate the College Republicans and the AU Democrats this year. During the meeting, they discussed electing a new vice president, planned events for the year and met new members.
"We're basically trying to get the libertarian name out this year to students and faculty," President Tracy Silcox said. "Last year was our first year and we're learning how politics on campus work."
If Silcox were a major leader in the political world, she would focus on education. "There is a problem with education today. People don't get the proper education they need."
Although the three political parties respect each other's views, they will be holding several friendly competitions, including a basketball game yesterday, where the College Republicans played against the AU Democrats while the AU Libertarians refereed. There will also be a much anticipated paintball game that once again puts the College Republicans against the AU Democrats.
From a new student's point of view, freshman Malorie Sellers feels that she would never join a political party.
"I don't like discussing my political views with others because I don't want to risk getting into arguments that could hinder any friendships," Sellers said.
"I wouldn't join a political club either because I'd rather not take a side on issues, because people get too passionate about them," freshman Kelly Kirkwood said.
Freshman David Safdie intends to join the AU Democrats.
"I was affiliated with the Democratic party in high school," Safdie said, "I feel that the AU Democrats are very active in their community and political issues."
Freshman Ben Litwick joined the AU Libertarians.
"I joined the AU Libs because it seemed like the political stance most likely to aggravate my parents," Litwik said.
"I wouldn't join a political club because I believe in some ideals of all the parties," freshman Gaby Romero said. "I don't think it's fair to relate to one specific party"