BY AUSTIN RUFF
Young Democrats and College Republicans are back on the Fort Hays State University campus after having been defunct in recent years. The two groups have made a strong comeback with both having added members since the start of the year. Both groups are hoping to get students more politically involved and aware of the issues prevalent today.
“I think it’s important for students to know about political issues because politics governs more things in our lives than we realize,” College Republican President Britton Haigh said.
Young Democrats President, Kendra Clary, advocates for student involvement, too.
“Political involvement is crucial for the growth, development, and needs of our society. It is the people’s way to hold power to make sure the government is fulfilling their duties,” she said.
College Republicans is a group of people who come together to discuss conservative values. Their aim is to volunteer their efforts and abilities to elect Republican leaders at the campus, local, statewide, and national levels of government, to reach out to the FHSU and Hays community in teaching them Republican values and basic political education, to encourage and assist in the promotion and progress of Republican organizations throughout the state, and to further strengthen their political skills and leadership abilities as preparation for the future service in the Republican Party and society.
“Once we can all do that,” Haigh said, “I think that we as a people can do a better job of electing officials who can better represent us as a whole instead of representing us as a faction.”
The Young Democrats is an organization who associate their political ideals with the Democratic party. The Young Democrats work to encourage participation in the electoral process, influence partisan ideals, advocate for more progressive issues, and increase political action in youth. Their goals include finding ways to encourage a connection between university students and the politics that surrounds them.
For them, it is important that each student is able to voice their needs. Young Democrats want to stray away from polarization in the political community and work with anyone so that they can advocate for everyone.
“Politics directly relate to our experiences as students here at FHSU,” Clary said. “It is essential for students to realize the relationship between local politics and our higher education, tuition and fees, and accessible resources.”
Among the most important issues of the day is the question of bipartisanship and working across the aisle.
“Our organization can help foster bipartisanship by consistently reaching out to the other side,” Haigh said. “We are more than willing to cooperate and collaborate with anyone who wants to participate in civil discourse or have a conversation regarding the betterment of our democracy.”
Helping to foster that mindset at a younger age is one of the core ideals of both organizations.
“Bipartisanship is essential to the unity and addressing of our needs as a community,” Clary said. “Differing beliefs do not need to foster polarization but instead, support more ideals and endeavors for the people [as a whole].”
By allowing for more openness and freedom of discussion, the groups hope to start a culture of cooperation and understanding that will carry over to adulthood and the ballot box.
“We already have several ideas in mind on how we can come together to do good here on campus and our community,” Haigh said.
Getting people politically involved, regardless of party affiliation, is an idea central to the mission of both organizations.
“Being involved in politics allows for young persons to make an impact on their community,” Clary said. “Through voting, campaigning, and political involvement more voices are heard and represented.”
Voting and being informed are perhaps the greatest assets of anyone living in this country. The U.S. political system allows for the voice of the people to be heard, so making educated decisions and being involved is essential.
“By being politically involved at a young age, you are in a better position to engage in discussion, become better informed, and create change,” Haigh said. “You are no longer just a citizen, but an active citizen who can make a difference in your community.”
Young Democrats meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the Rarick Hall study lounge. College Republicans meet at 7:00 on the first and third Mondays of each month in Rarick Hall 153.