College democrats RSO re-activates

Mackenzie Freund, Online Producer

With the presidential primaries on the horizon and the candidates telling all of their plans, people all over the country are preparing to vote for who they want to represent their party in the presidential race.

College students are no exception, with many campuses having registered student organizations for the main political parties: democrats and republicans.

The EIU College Democrats started up in the fall 2015 semester after spending time as an inactive RSO.

According to its page on Eastern’s RSO website, the purpose of the EIU College Democrats is to encourage membership, educate the campus and public on issues, and to develop leadership skills for the members.

Frida Arellano, a junior political science major, said that they want to promote it in young adults and educate them so young adults can vote more.

Arellano said she saw that the RSO was inactive and had worked with Jonathan Williams, graduate student in the political science department, to get the RSO back up and running.

Williams said he was a member of the EIU College Democrats from 2008 to 2010 and wanted to bring back the RSO, especially with the presidential election coming up.

“With a presidential campaign on the horizon, I couldn’t sit on the sidelines knowing that EIU had no official representation for Democrats on campus,” Williams said.

Arellano said after Williams reached out to her, she saw the opportunity to take a leadership position, and started to get her friends and classmates to sign up.

Arellano also said there are some things that are being planned for the semester, such as fundraisers and a possible debate between the college Democrats and the college Republicans.

“I have also heard from a few Republicans that they want to set up a debate so I think that would spark up something,” Arellano said. “It should be interesting to start debates so (the students) can know which party represents them, their ideology, and their beliefs most.”

Arellano said since the RSO is starting up again, it needs to get its funds together before it is able to plan other events and recruit more people.

Arellano said there will be events that can allow students to learn more about politics in a more entertaining way.

“With some people, politics is not their best interest. We want to make it more interesting for those people,” Arellano said.

Williams said the RSO is not just for people who are “die-hard political junkies” because the RSO is designed to educate peers and help them express their views on politics.

Former College Democrat members Ryan Woods and Mike Olsen stand with Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, center, outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Former College Democrat members Ryan Woods and Mike Olsen stand with Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, center, outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“I would encourage even politically undecided students to check us out,” Williams said. “We are excited to share our party’s vision both here on campus and in the surrounding community.”

Arellano said the Clinton and Sanders campaigns both reached out to her to get student help in getting their names on presidential ballots, along with encouraging students to be active and educate them about the political parties.

“We’re going to help that by signing sheets and signing in people to become registered voters,” Arellano said. “So we’re going to get help from the College Democrats, and from the students to help out.”

Arellano said that the RSO wants to bring attention to some of the issues facing college students.

“We don’t vote as much, so our problems and our concerns are not addressed as much as other groups and other ages,” Arellano said.

Arellano said that she believes if college students start to push the issues that concern them, then politicians will address those issues.

Arellano said the RSO meets on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Coleman Hall and that students can come and learn about their political views and decide if they want to be part of the organization.

 

Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]