By: Lester Page, Staff Writer
Recently, the UMF College Democrats met to discuss a variety of topics, ones that ranged from fundraising ideas, informational events, political and social issues faced by college students, and what not just club members, but what everyone can do to make a difference in society.
Nick Bray, third-year student and club co-chair, began with a discussion of current events and club announcements. This included the much anticipated official announcement of the College Democrats’ first event of the year: a viewing party for the 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate. The event is set to take place on Tuesday, October 13 in The Landing.
The College Democrats also discussed reaching a greater involvement within the UMF community. The club aims to increase their ability to spread information and engage and collaborate with other campus clubs. “That’s something I’ve desired for the past two years, us working with other clubs,” said Bray. “That’s something I’d really love to accomplish this year.”
After prompting this question, many students engaged in discussion, brainstorming ideas to become more involved with the club community. Suggestions included holding a basket raffle, tabling to spread information, designing buttons, and holding fundraisers. One student even brought up the idea of a possible visit to the hopeful, potential Democratic candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
“What we can do as a club is get the people the right information and facts so they can make the most informed decisions,” said Bray. “That’s it. We have a great club if we can accomplish that.” In a pre-meeting interview, Bray commented on political activism on campus, saying, “if people are not involved, the government doesn’t work!”
Also involved in the discussion was College Democrat Advisor and UMF Psychology Professor Joel King. “There’s a lot of issues around today that are collegiate-age issues,” said King. He spoke of tuition costs, healthcare, and many other issues that students are affected by on a daily basis. Bray agreed, explaining how next year’s election will be an attention drawer for students across the country. “I think this is a perfect year to engage people,” said King. “This is going to be the election of our time, it will far outshadow the impacts of 2008.”
The College Democrats advise all UMF students to be involved in politics, even if it just being informed. “Students used to be much more active, but a lot of them were seniors that graduated,” said King. “Luckily there are students that came and stepped up to the job.”
Past events held by the College Democrats include a voter registration drive, where students could register to vote and ask any related questions; political debate viewing parties, a debate for Congressional candidates Emily Cain and Troy Jackson, a volunteer opportunities for the 2014 Maine Democratic Co-ordinated campaigns.
The UMF College Democrats meet in Roberts 105 Thursday nights at 6:00 p.m. According to Bray, new members and ideas are always welcome.