Not until recently (aka the past 2 years) have I become really involved in politics. I was afforded to attend the Jefferson Jackson dinner with close friends and saw Bill Clinton speak, it was pretty much wicked tight. At the moment in time I came to the realization that I did NOT want to be the typical student or young adult who just votes in Presidential elections. Come my junior year the Longwood Young Democrats came to close to just not existing, and well I just couldn’t let that happen due to several factors. So essentially I was handed the Presidency, and thats when my involvement snowballed into a HUGE call to political action to friends, family, and the student body.
I must admit the typical cliché of delivering countless leaflets and knocking on endless doors in the cold and rain was a far cry from the colourful debating I imagined politics to be all about!
Getting involved at the University level is a great opportunity for many of us to explore and challenge different ideas. If pushing the boundaries of political debate interests you, then our “Pizza and Policy” events do just that. It’s debating, with a twist if you like, and has proven very popular over the years.
But it’s not all debating. Our society is also involved in organizing campaign days across the country with College Democrats and Virginia Young Democrats. We also actively engage with our local association and (exams permitting) we’re always on hand to help out during by-elections. The Young Democrats here were granted money from the American Democracy Project allowing us to host 3 campus wide events to get students involved. The first explored what Grassroot Movements were all about, the second gave students the chance to register to vote here at school, and the third was a debate among students on the important issues represented by the candidate running in VA-05 (D- Tom Perriello, R- Robert Hur, I- Jeff Clark).
Longwood University tries to instill in all their students a sense of citizenship, leadership, courage, and kindness. We are taught government and politics, in a classroom or workshop. We discuss current events, political figures, current and historical. Our Political Science department has really been evolving over the years to engage student activism.
The Young Democrats club participates in student activism on local, national, and global issues that important to people like you and me.
In addition, we are taught that if we are not the political type and politics and political activism is not for us, we should not try to be a person we are not. What is the best way for us to work on these issues? Perhaps some are better at writing articles for the school news paper on such issues as global warming, the war, immigration, racism, etc. And what are the practical things that we can do about these problems according to our abilities and personality types?
Perhaps that young person is a better scientist than a politician. A better mathematician. How can we make use of these abilities to help in the political arena and the arena of political ideas and ideal? Perhaps that youth is more of a spiritual type than a political activist? How can we make use of our spiritual identity in helping with the so-called political problems?
Many youths don’t know yet who they are, and so politics and political activism must be among their many subjects, but they do not have to decide upon this as their role yet. There are many opportunities for political involvement in the school itself and with groups of other youths, such as the youths who attended the immigration rally, or racism workshops, or fundraisers for those in need.
Youths can also have apprenticeships with real-world political figures and learn how to work on political campaigns (like myself), but again with the understanding that they are youths just learning-and again politics is among the many different subject that they must learn and “master.”
We have been blessed to grow up in a generation that is making history fun and exciting…sure its not Woodstock, but having rally’s to restore sanity/keep fear alive, movements way beyond just ourselves, environmental upsets and triumphs, and so much more.
This blog is more so a call to action to everyone, get involved, become passionate, take a stand for what you believe in and vote because if you don’t the only person you can blame is yourself. I encourage everyone to go VOTE on TUESDAY NOV.2nd no matter what, your vote and your voice can make a difference.