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Campus political groups revise agendas in time for election season

September 18, 2012

As published in The Pendulum:

The College Democrats and College Republicans advocate for opposing candidates, but the Elon University chapters still share one common goal.

“We want discussion,” said junior Patrick Brown, president of the College Republicans. “Our goal is not to lock people into one side or another, but our age group is known for not voting, so we just want to get people engaged.”

Junior Jordan Thomas, president of the College Democrats, named voter registration as the primary mission for the student organization.

“I think our organization’s activity this semester is important because it’s focused around bringing people aware of the upcoming campaign,” Thomas said.

Although both organizations have been fairly inactive the past two years, the 2012 national election has inspired them to increase their presence on campus.

“The biggest thing that affects voting is education,” Brown said. “Those with more education are more likely to vote.”

Thomas expressed a similar opinion and said he expects the student body to be politically active in this election.

“A college campus is a nice place for change in general and a lot of ideas continue to grow on a college campus,” he said. “I think the majority of students will vote in this election if they are able to.”

In order to cultivate an atmosphere of political awareness, the organizations are working together to conduct a debate involving students on campus.

“The main goal is to inform Elon students of the issues on campus and presidential issues,”  Thomas said.

Although Thomas said he believes the more people hear about the economy, the more inclinded individuals will be to vote for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Nevertheless, other crucial issues will attract the young voter populations to the Democratic Party, Thomas said. He named social rights, health care and international relations as other significant issues during this election.

Nevertheless, Brown said the perception of college students’ political views are misleading, believing more college students support the Republican Party than typically expressed.

“I think a lot of college students rally support and sympathize with the Republican ideals of hope and success through hard work,” Brown said. “I think that speaks to college students everyday. We’re doing a lot of things to advance our life.”

To further raise support for their respective party, College Republicans are also working with TurboVote to increase voter registration among Elon students and have extended their activity into the surrounding community. Students involved in the organization are working with the Alamance Republican Party and the Victory Office in Burlington to help promote the Republican candidate and generate networking opportunities, according to Brown.

Similarly, the College Democrats plan to participate in College Coffee weekly, organize a watch party during the presidential debates and collaborate with other student groups.

But the politically-focused organizations are planning programs in addition to those dedicated to the 2012 election, such as social activities.

“We’re trying to do things so that it will not only be a political organization,” Brown said.

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