College Dems operating despite lower numbers

Jessica Rothschuh

The two major political parties both have student groups at the university, but after the 2004 presidential election, the groups’ activities on campus are varied.

During the election season, College Democrats brought Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee chairman, to campus. They also brought Michael Moore, held debate parties in Jazzman’s Cafe and stood outside the MAC Center with clipboards, registering voters.

“This year, we registered approximately 1,000 new voters,” said Amy Groya, freshman political science and history major and member of College Democrats.

Margaret Stambaugh, the political director of College Democrats, said the group is still active, currently attending events such as Rep. Tim Ryan’s talk on Social Security on Monday night. They also attend state conferences.

College Democrats President Adam Herman said active participation has declined in the group but is still between 30 and 40 active members, down from a peak of 140 members before the 2004 presidential election.

Attendance “drops off significantly after the elections,” Herman said. “The holidays happen, and then people have politics off their minds for a little while.”

The group’s adviser, physics professor Mike Lee, said he encourages members to be involved in all levels of government.

“There is a complex state and local political structure, which they have the opportunity to support,” Lee said. “Politics doesn’t just happen at elections.”

When asked what he thought the group’s purpose on campus was, Lee’s answer was general.

“The purpose of any student organization is to give the opportunity for students to get a group experience outside the normal classroom experience,” Lee said. He added that College Democrats is specifically for students who are interested in political science.

The group gets students interested in politics and gives them opportunities for involvement, Groya said. Students can get involved through the group’s contact with politicians.

Herman confirmed plans to bring in another speaker in the fall.

“While it may not be as large as Michael Moore, I’m not ruling that out,” Herman said.

The group is currently involved in state elections and organizations as well.

“We’re excited and gearing up for the governor’s election,” Stambaugh said.

The group will meet with other young Democrats from Ohio State and Ohio University at an annual conference this semester.

Another particular point of pride for Herman is the group’s recent advertising campaign, which features members explaining why they are Democrats. The members offer reasons like the right to choose and comprehensive sex education.

The advertisements are meant to show students that democratic beliefs are heartfelt and are not “just knee-jerk reactions to the current administration,” Herman said.

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].