By Lauren Lavelle
With the highly controversial election right around the corner, students took the opportunity to make their voices heard by reinstating two clubs that had long been forgotten: the College Republicans and the College Democrats.
“The club existed for many, many years before dissipating about 4 years ago. The leadership graduated and no one took the helm,” said sophomore marketing major and president of the College Republicans Alex Solomon. “In March, I had the idea to refound the club, and in April, we became officially chartered with the College Republican National Committee as well as the New Jersey College Republican Federation.”
Senior American studies major and president of the College Democrats, Ruth DelPino, had a similar path to her organization’s revival and hopes her efforts for reinstatement inspire students to make a difference.
“I decided that it was time,” said DelPino. “I kept thinking about how to get people involved with politics. It’s not a scary concept filled with corruption; it’s a place to light a candle if you feel we are in dark times.”
Both clubs have the same set goal in mind: educate the students of Rider University on the happenings of the political world while also keeping in mind the values and opinions of their designated political parties.
“We want to educate the general population of Rider about what it means to be a democrat; to illustrate the need for action, implementation and advocacy,” said DelPino. “Without all three, we cannot fully adhere to the platform of the party.”
Solomon is also trying to push his organization in the same direction.
“Our purpose is to promote conservatism on campus and give students a place to express themselves and be with like-minded people,” said Solomon. “We want to help Republicans win local, statewide and national elections and to have fun while doing so.”
Sophomore accounting major and College Republican Club member Lauren Beck appreciates the effort the organizations have put into providing students with a political outlet on campus.
“I think these clubs can open the eyes of students,” said Beck. “We have our opinions and our voices should be heard. All of us are fed up with political corruption and the media distorting the truth. This club helps us feel like we are not alone and can make a difference.”
As for the upcoming election, the College Republicans plan on venturing into the community to advocate for their party.
“We’re going door knocking in Pennsylvania the weekend before the election, and we’re doing an event for Congressman Chris Smith’s reelection campaign on Oct. 16,” said Solomon.
The College Democrats are currently educating their members on what it means to be a Democrat, and DelPino hopes their newfound knowledge will assist them with the election.
“I want people to be angry; to be passionate about what affects them,” said DelPino. “If we want things to change, we have to be part of the process, whether it is just voting, or deciding to be a politician or advocate. Just buy in to the fact that a person is never helpless, and there is always a way to break the mold while being constructive and respectful.”
While both groups foster opposite views of the political spectrum, their passion for their causes are very much on the same level, adding an element of harmony to Rider’s community.
“It’s important to me because we are giving a voice to a minority group,” said Solomon. “Alone, we may not be able to be heard, but as a united group, our voice matters. I hear too often about colleges repressing conservatism, whether it be student groups, faculty or the ideas themselves. Fortunately, we don’t have that problem here at Rider.”
The College Democrats and Republicans encourage new membership and urge students to attend their debate on Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke theater.