Young Democrats Hope to Inspire Enthusiasm in Politics
While it is only Monday, many students are already planning for the weekend, deciding which party to go to or which restaurant would be the most delicious. A few hundred students on campus have been planning and persuading others to join their political party and sparking interest in their RSO, UA Young Democrats, since the beginning of 2012.
According the UA Young Democrats website, the purpose of Young Democrats is to promote the values of the Democratic Party on the UA campus while also promoting political awareness and involvement in the political process.
While many organizations have required meetings or events, joining the Young Democrats is as simple as liking the RSO’s Facebook page or emailing email@example.com. With over 200 students in Young Democrats, anyone who is interested is encouraged to come volunteer at the phone bank or attend a monthly meeting.
“This Wednesday, Oct. 31, and Thursday, Nov. 1, the Young Democrats will participate in a local phone bank where we call people to talk about issues nationally and locally in the Union room 308,” said Matthew Seubert, senior political science and economics major. “We make a big difference for local candidates as we try persuade those we call to vote.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Young Democrats will come together and host an election watch party where members and anyone interested can watch the results.
“We try to engage students on every level, whether it is volunteering to help with the campaign or getting an internship,” Seubert said. “Our main goal is to remind people to get to the voting polls.”
The Young Democrats base expands beyond just college students.
“I started a Young Democrats chapter at Fayetteville High School, and I have seen the great impact an organized and thoughtful group of young people can have on both their school and community,” said Ezra Smith, freshman Arabic and international relations major.
According to an article posted on The East Carolinian website, only 22.8 percent of eligible voters under age 30 cast a vote during the 2010 elections.
The main goal of the Young Democrats is to promote support for the Democratic party, but they are also keen on getting students to become involved with politics regardless of political party.
“Students will leave the UA with a degree, but our goal is to keep them interested in being involved politically after college by encouraging them to vote and keep volunteering,” Seubert said.
With Facebook statuses recently having a majority of political opinions expressed in them, escaping the subject of politics can be challenging.
“At our age it may seem like politics do not matter but more than anyone else it is our generation who will rise or fall with their decisions,” Smith said. “I would encourage students to pay attention and to learn about the current issues.” They may find out they have more at stake then they realize by not casting a ballot.
With the election being eight days away, the Young Democrats have already been planning on what to do after the votes are casted.
After the election the RSO plans to continue to deepen the relationships that they already have with local candidates as they want to continue to help and support them for future elections, Seubert said. “We have forged over 200 relationships with people from volunteering that expand on campus and off.”
The UA Young Democrats Facebook page has almost three hundred likes, but the group is always intent on expanding.
“With the election this cycle we did not have much time to grow our numbers before we had to start phone banking and knocking on doors,” Smith said. “Our group this year has gone above and beyond the call of duty of any party auxiliary but we have so much more potential. I would like to grow here and expand into our local high schools and NWACC. We have a lot of work to do but I am very excited.”
The RSO hopes to inspire their members to stay passionate about politics beyond the UA campus.
“The Young Democrats have worked hard into creating lifelong citizens that will continue to do their civic duty and vote for the issues that they believe in,” Seubert said. “Students will leave the UA with a degree but, our goal is to keep them interested in being involved politically after college by encouraging them to vote and keep volunteering. We are voting for something that will not only affect the next four years, but it could impact the country for the next 40 years.”