College Democrats start with a new E-Board
Luke Danko – Contributor
The College Democrats held their first meeting of the semester on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Student Center.
The hybrid event, which included 14 in-person and seven online participants, announced future plans for the club and opened a forum for club members to give recommendations. The meeting began with participant and board member introductions.
Club members were asked to introduce themselves and explain their interest in the club. Co-president Andreina Barajas Novoa, a sophomore who reported to the meeting virtually from Washington D.C., reflected on her interests in politics and said the club gives an opportunity “to meet with like-minded individuals.”
Following introductions, Co-President Kyle Thaxton, a sophomore, started a discussion on potential plans for the club and asked what the club would like to focus on this semester. Participant recommendations included: a mock presidential caucus, worker cooperatives and collaboration with state and local officials.
“I want to start having us do more activism on the local and state level,” said Thaxton.
The club, which focuses on campus, local and state politics has a history of canvassing and campaigning for Democrat officials in the past but was deterred last semester by the pandemic.
“A lot of clubs were struggling last year,” said Vice President Derrick Arnold, a sophomore. “Now that people are returning in person, thankfully we’ve seen an increase in our membership.”
This semester, the board consists of previously mentioned co-presidents, vice president, a treasurer and a secretary. In her first term as co-president, Novoa expressed one of her goals for the club saying “For me personally, I really want the club members to get involved with a lot of grassroot organizing.”
Novoa herself is a part of Connecticut Students for a Dream, an organization which works for the rights of undocumented people.
Novoa said in regard to grassroot organizations, “that’s where I found my voice and where I found a lot of my passions.”
To interested students, Novoa said, “It doesn’t matter where you are in politics, how much knowledge you have of it—come to learn, come with an open mind—we’re all here learning.”
Novoa is in sociology and political science major with a minor in history. Also debuting as co-president, Thaxton shared some of his personal aspirations for the club this semester. He said, “I’m hoping that we can do some canvassing, I’m hop-ing we can do some campaigning — workshops as well, for testimony writing.”
Thaxton also expressed after the pandemic, he would like the club to participate in and organize rallies “here, or in the greater New Haven community.”
In regards to club participation, Thaxton said, “I think the reason people come to this club is because they want to educate them-selves more, to not only learn but also get involved.”
Thaxton is a history and political science major with a minor in french.
Taking on the vice president position, Arnold said, “We’re really trying to give back to the community of New Haven—we want to help people get more involved in activism and learn about activism.”
He said the club hopes to cre-ate an “informed group of people that can go out and help their community.”
“Having a lot of members has been really nice, we almost weren’t expecting it—we weren’t expecting to need a larger meeting room—it was a surprise, but a good surprise,” he said.
Arnold is a data science major and mathematcs minor.
Returning to the club this semester, Treasurer Treqwon Mack, a senior, said the club is about “making awareness on important political issues and fighting for what’s right.”
Mack has been involved in the club since the spring of 2017 and said he’s “excited to be back.”
“In spring last year, the College Dems were kind of breaking down,” said Mack, “I saw a position open on E-Board and I took some time to really think about it.” He said, “I want to get involved and keep College Dems alive. Cannot let it die.”
Mack is a political science major and business administration minor.
Now in her second year of participating in the club, secretary Gwen Healy, a sophomore, said, “I feel like our club provides a lot of learning experiences for people to get more involved in politics.”
Healy said because of re-cent political news, “Every-one’s coming in, everyone’s learning more about local politics and state politics.” One of her goals for the club this semester is collaborating with the College Republicans. She said, “I feel like that would be a challenge for us—I think if we could get that done it would be really good for the club.”
Healy is an exploratory major and spanish minor.
To close the hybrid event, Thaxton left participants with a question due next meeting. He asked those in-person and virtual, “What are three political issues you care about?” The College Democrats meet every Thursday at 8 p.m. For more information, visit the club’s Instagram account @scsudems, or contact one of the co-presidents via email.