Students create group to rally behind Sen. Bernie Sanders


(Left to right) Bryce Schlenker, Shelby Pratt, Shreya Basu and Adam Schroeder tabling for students to register to vote on Jan. 30, 2020

Chris Ramos Reporter

Every Wednesday night, students meet in room 317 of the Student Center and join together over one thing: Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Kent State for Bernie 2020 is a new student political organization that is mobilizing young voters to help Sanders secure the presidency.

With over 100 students signed up for their newsletter, members have begun to visit political science classes to talk to students. They are regularly tabling on the second floor of the Student Center and are active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This Saturday they will be at Little City Grill to host a “Phone Bank for Bernie” from 1:30-4:30 p.m. 

Adam Schroeder, a senior political science major, founded and created Kent State for Bernie 2020 last year. 

“We’re on such a progressive campus that has such a history of political activism,” he said. “I wanted to do something for the campaign, but nobody was really organizing anything and I know that there are a bunch of people who support Bernie on this campus.” 

Schroeder became a supporter back in 2015 when Sanders first ran for president. Still in high school at the time, Schroeder told friends about Sanders’ policies and encouraged them to vote if they were old enough.

Age is no longer a barrier for college students but a lack of time can be.

“It can be hard for people that go to school full time and work full time,” Schroeder said. “They don’t have time to research and know how to vote and where to vote.” 

Helping him carry the load are his two vice presidents, senior Bryce Schlenker and freshman Nicole Wloszek. They are both political science majors and assist Schroeder with meetings, creating newsletters, tabling and purchasing supplies.

“I work with Adam and we would have conversations about politics and what we thought was important and who we supported,” Schlenker said.

Schlenker did not identify with any other student political group before the formation of Kent State for Bernie 2020. He agreed that there were progressivists on campus who deserved a voice. He also feels political participation is important. 

“I think it’s interesting to see how apathetic people can be toward politics given that we live in such an interconnected world,” Schlenker said. 

Wloszek was a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America and is currently a member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action. The president of Planned Parenthood told her about the group. 

“For me, it was the perfect opportunity to tell people about Bernie’s policies and just get them out to vote,” Wloszek said. “He is the only politician that I look at and think this person will fight for me.”

The voter registration deadline is Feb.18. Statewide voting for the primary election is on March 17. For those that deal with time constraints as Schroeder mentioned, early voting is available. 

“It’s literally at the [Portage] Board of Elections the entire month leading up to Election Day,” Schroeder said. “Cast your ballot. You have an entire month to do it.”

Chris Ramos covers politics. Contact him at [email protected]