With the presidential election season in full swing, more students are getting involved in politics through the Young Democrats and Young Republicans clubs. Both encourage political awareness and community involvement.
Students involved in the clubs participate in activities such as debates, voter outreach, phone banking, community service and other local political events. The presidential race allows for the clubs to change their focus to a larger scale.
“[Because of the race,] we are more campaign-oriented as a club,” Young Democrats president and sophomore Cameron Khan said.
The clubs are still active beyond the national election, maintaining an active presence in their communities, regardless of the level of government. Involvement in local elections allows members to better see their impact.
“In the off years [when there is no presidential election], we unfortunately don’t have a lot of people,” Young Democrats sponsor and English teacher Marian Patey said. “Even though the presidential race is really important, it’s local politics people need to be involved in.”
The clubs are also busy with the congressional race. They support and campaign for LuAnn Bennett and Barbara Comstock, respectively the Democratic and Republican congressional candidates.
The Young Republicans meet every Monday in Room 572 from 3-4 p.m., and the Young Democrats meet every other Monday in Room 211 from 3-3:30 p.m. Prospective members should not be concerned about feeling unwelcome because they hold unpopular opinions on candidates or issues.
“We have people who support Bernie Sanders [that] come to [the Young Republicans meetings] because anyone who wants to come is welcome,” Young Republicans president and senior Randy Weidman said. “It’s a club where you share your opinion and don’t have to worry about someone being disrespectful because you have a certain belief.”
Preconceived notions of what it means to be a Republican or a Democrat are thrown out the window.
“The Republican Party has a lot of stereotypes within it. The uniform Republican is white, male, Christian, but our club is so diverse,” Young Republicans member and sophomore Megan James said. “We try to break down that barrier and be inviting and welcoming, and show the best parts of what we believe.”
The clubs greatly respect each other even if they do not always agree. They frequently collaborate to hold events and fundraisers together. Debates have been held in the past, and they plan to hold more in the future as well.
“There are obvious differences, but we’re working toward one common goal: to create a better place,” James said.
Both clubs recognize that the future of the country is greater than any one person’s political opinions.
“Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, I encourage you to join any of the politically minded clubs,” Khan said. “This election matters, and it’s up to people like the students at Chantilly to make a difference.”