The political climate at HCC is startlingly calm given the candidate’s recent actions
hen a discussion is started regarding politics with today’s college student, their opinions are immediately drawn to the presidential race. The contentious nature of the debates, the drastic difference in idealism and the overwhelming dissatisfaction with government as a whole imbues students with an apathy that tears at the fabric of today’s society. There is a deeper level of politics and involvement that exists at every college and the civic leaders are reaching out to students to help make change a reality. Labels like Republican, Democrat, and moderate, pale in comparison to the message for college students. Students align less with historic party affiliation and attach more importance to platform and policies that the candidates are putting forth. The national leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties threatens to force college students to adopt a moderate standing. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders took it upon himself to speak directly to a generation affected by issues that are real to them. Nationwide, college-age individuals flocked to his campaign eschewing party lines and demonstrating the new face of American political outreach. Politics dominate American lives: the methods in which things are changed, how policies are developed, and the creation of new legislation. The American Freshman: National Norms 2015, a survey conducted by UCLA, found that more than 60% of current college students state that they will take part in an election before they finish college. The importance of civil engagement has seen a steady increase among college freshmen over the last 5 years. The study also identified that 70% felt “the importance of helping others in need,” as the driving force in their decisions. College activism finds strength in programs like the young political groups. The leaders help guide the students, navigating the pit falls of action that is counterproductive to activism. They help students network with local official that can affect real change and can introduce legislation.
Brad Fenwick, director of Rimmer Support Systems, and Ron Hulsey, part-time outreach business instructor, sponsor the Young Democrat and Young Republican clubs on campus. In each club, they help students navigate political questions, aspirations, and assist with local level political drives. The world of college politics is about far more than student government, presidential elections, and what bill will be passed in November. The groups both work to learn how change is brought about at a grass roots level. They meet to discuss how the political climate has changed. They also attend meetings and learn the process of civics. The clubs assist local political committees by canvassing for signatures from registered voters, helping get candidates added to ballots, building support for upcoming legislation, attending town meetings, engaging local politicians to speak at the college, and forming action plans to create achievable results. They operate independently from student government and look forward to making a difference not only in the day to day lives of today’s college students but a far reaching impact on the surrounding community. Involvement in these clubs is at drastically low levels. Membership drives and informational meetings have occurred on campus to bolster numbers and interest. During the Activities Fair held in September, email addresses were gathered but it hasn’t translated into attendance numbers. MTV, the American cable and satellite television channel, worked hard with their “Rock the Vote” campaign to make students aware of the power they hold in their hands. When students talk about trying to affect change, joining these clubs is the very first step to building a deeper understanding of the political world that surrounds them. Change cannot occur without action, and action without direction is useless. Now is the time for college students to make their voices heard and joining these organizations is the first step to making that difference
DRAGON'S TALE • FALL 2016
10/27/2016 4:35:56 PM