The Kent State College Democrats started the new year with a new campaign: Progressive ‘14. The campaign is a push for cohesion between progressively oriented student groups on campus and in Portage County.
Bryan Staul, president of the College Democrats, started the campaign in order to register voters before election season and to create a unity among student groups.
“It’s bringing like-minded organizations under an umbrella for the first time,” Staul said. “So instead of everyone running in different directions when we hit fall, we can all sit down and talk.”
Staul said that the campaign is aiming to call attention to issues and get attention from politicians who are in office and those who will run in the midterms later this year.
“We’re democrats, but we want to expand it a little bit beyond us,” Staul said. “Affordable college, an effective energy plan, transparent government, women’s rights — these are big things that can apply to college students and older citizens.”
The campaign will mainly serve to register voters, which Staul said would be done at different events and meetings throughout the year. He said that he hopes bringing more groups together to help register voters will influence more people to register, and there will be more votes in favor of the ideals for which Progressive ‘14 stands.
So far the student organizations who are planning to affiliate with the campaign are PRIDE!, Kent State’s LGBTQ organization and Black United Students, although the College Democrats are reaching out to others. President of PRIDE! Brandon Stephens said the campaign will bring together students who have the same ideals and values.
“We want to show a message of solidarity to students and show people that, especially in Ohio, that we are not happy with the current state of things. Stephens said “LGBTQ citizens aren’t happy. We are not able to marry the person we love and are not considered a real human being.”
President of BUS Matt Thompson said that he was looking forward to having more unity between student organizations.
“We all have our own projects or whatever we’re working on, but this way there is communication and cohesion between student leaders,” Thompson said. “We will be able to work towards causes that will benefit everyone in the community. We would like to see the community come together in a progressive way to become agents of change and put pressure on the powers that be.”
Stephens also said that the campaign would aim to see an “uprise in student involvement.”
“In past years there has been a rise in student apathy,” he said. “We want to get students engaged.”
Blair Donald is the student politics reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Blair at [email protected].