Today: Mar 03, 2024

New club promotes political discussion


Students should keep their eyes out for paper cubes or miscellaneous boots with writing all over them. It’s a different way students will notice fliers, and they’re for a club that is all about change.

Adam Columbia, senior cultural anthropology major, said he would like to test out a more creative way of marketing and advertising for a new club organization called Democracy Matters.

Anthropology professor Kathleen Skoczen said she first brought it to Columbia’s attention.

Columbia and Hannah Doody, also a senior cultural anthropology major, are pushing for a new club that informs people about politics and money issues going on in the world today. They said Democracy Matters confronts the issues of money in politics. They are encouraging people who are passionate about making a difference in the way the world is run today, and even those who don’t know anything about politics to join.

Democracy Matters is a nationally recognized organization. Doody attended a three-day conference in Albany, NY, where she said she met people from all over the nation; people from California and the Midwest all ventured out. She said it was the youth sector of a similar organization called Common Cause, which has been around for 30-40 years. Democracy Matters has only been in existence for 11 years.

Democracy Matters, Common Cause and Public Campaign all work together to engage in state and federal campaign finance reformation, according to Columbia. They all focus on the value of a democracy and money in American politics, according to the mission statements on the organizations’ websites.

“Student activism is essential to achieving the political reform that our country needs,” according to the Democracy Matters website, which is why Doody and Columbia are pushing to bring it to Southern and get people involved.

Columbia said that a corporation or wealthy group of individuals can get money to put people in office, which translates into political power rather than the votes of the people truly interested getting them power. These corporations come with agendas that don’t consider what “ordinary” people in this country need and want, he said. As long as these political figures are making money from people, they’re satisfied, and have no care for the people. A democracy should be “by the people, for the people,” which is what this club is focused on, he said.

“It’s about getting people in power who care about people,” Columbia said.

The club also focuses on social and economic reforms: health care, social security, human rights, and civil liberties.

“We have a huge wealth gap, said Doody. “It’s that 1 percent that’s controlling our political process, instead of the 99 percent.”

Columbia and Doody are collaborating together to target a youth demographic and make them aware of political reform. They want to encourage students to register to vote, especially with the election coming up.

Columbia and Doody said they want to empower and inform students and also aid them in leadership qualities and speaking abilities.

“At every meeting,” Doody said, “there will be a quick five minute discussion of an issue relevant in the world.”

The club has already peaked the interest of 60 students, including Isaura Hoppenstedt, senior anthropology major.

“I was one of those students who didn’t know much about politics, but there’s a movement going on,” Hoppenstedt said.

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