Written by: Roddia Paul and Chantel Grant
The 2016 Presidential race is calling for young people to turn up at the polls, regardless of their party affiliations. The Young Progressives and NSU College Republicans, two of the newest political clubs on campus, are increasing political activism among young students, and both clubs are vehicles for their peers to see voting as an important activity that they shouldn’t skip.
George Bass, assistant professor of the Department of History and Political Science in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, explained why he thinks these clubs are paving the way for the future.
“For one, there are a lot of issues that affect young adults, especially college students. The most glaring one is about paying for college and student loans. That’s a significant issue for most young people right now. ‘How I am going to pay for this?’ and ‘If I can’t, how am I going to afford to pay it off once I get out of here?’” said Bass.
Congress routinely brings up these types of issues, which led to the creation of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, where one’s federal loans are paid off if he or she worked in the public sector for 10 years. This is an example of how the political process can benefit students.
With young people gaining interest in areas such as the environment and sustainability, the next step is for them is to become politically active so they can meet their goals and make a change.
The Young Progressives and the NSU College Republicans are great starting points for students to become politically active.
“It helps people who are passionate about politics and want to make a difference,” said Bass.
Traditionally, young people have the lowest voter turnout, so these clubs are great for encouraging students to vote.
In addition, if students are unclear of which political party they support, these clubs offer the chance for students to find their political identity.
“These clubs provide a good place for people to go see where they might fit in,” said Bass.
NSU’s College Republicans
Robert Willis, junior business major and president of NSU’s College Republicans, said NSU lacks a strong political voice, which causes students to be uninformed about policies and candidates.
“NSU’s College Republicans provide a platform for students with Republican values to become new leaders in their communities and become informed about policies,” said Willis.
David A. Arias, freshman legal studies major, is a member of the NSU College Republicans and said he wants to promote political awareness in students.
Arias said, “I want to teach people how the economy works and help to build the confidence of young people so they know more about politics. Just because we’re young, we think politics doesn’t affect us, but it does, and it will continue to affect us in the future.”
The Young Progressives
Michael Ferguson, junior political science major and president of The Young Progressives, said his goal for the club is to create a cohesive progressive community of students who share the same values.
Ferguson said, “The long term goal of the club is to create a community of likeminded young progressives who will volunteer and promote future progressive candidates and issues.”
Leigh-Ana Mumford, junior political science major and a member of The Young Progressives, said that she joined the club to promote awareness of political issues that affect students.
“There is a diminishing rate of youth involvement in politics with an increase in policies that affect us,” Mumford said.
Mumford hopes to help create policies that will impact young people in a positive way. She also believes that political clubs will simplify politics for students and allow them to vote on what they know, rather than how they were raised.
Even though both clubs subscribe to different political parties, they make it clear that they are open to students with different political ideologies or students who are unsure of which party they support. For Ferguson and Willis, it’s not about dividing the campus with politics; it’s about mobilizing young people to vote and enlightening them on policies and issues.
Both presidents said they started their clubs to promote positive changes and to encourage students to vote, regardless of their political affiliations.
These clubs are platforms for students, and will expose them to real issues and politics, especially since young people have the power to shape the future of America.
The Young Progressives meet on Thursdays in the Parker Building, room 254, between noon and 1 p.m. For more information about joining, visit orgsync.com or email Michael Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NSU’s College Republicans meet on Thursdays in the Alvin Sherman Library, room 3078, between noon and 1 p.m. For more information about joining, visit orgsync.com or contact Robert Willis at email@example.com or Taylor Mathews at firstname.lastname@example.org.