Political Groups on campus share similar goals in informing, registering students


With the presidential election season under way, information concerning the candidates is on every corner.
The College Democrats and Republicans on campus are working hard to promote their respective candidates and inform students on the platform.
But both organizations share a similar goal.
"We think it's really important to get students registered to vote," said senior Abbey Jordan, the president of College Democrats. "You have to be registered at least a month prior to any election."
College Republicans are also recruiting voters.
"We're hoping to get some tabling in the Hub in the next couple weeks," said senior Elyssa DiRaffaele, secretary of College Republicans. "We aren't going to turn anyone away because of their political affiliation. We're open to everyone because we really want college students to get out to the polls."
According the state of Indiana official website, Indiana residents only need photo ID, such as their driver's license or U.S. passport to register to vote. Non-Indiana residents may need additional documentation, such as their birth certificate, for registration. DiRaffaele, a Connecticut resident, explained how she registered to vote in a different state.
"I'm registered to vote in Indiana since I live here [in Greencastle] for a majority of the year," DiRaffaele said. "During my freshman year, I got involved in the organization and did the voter registration tabling at the Hub. I helped other students register, including those from out of state, and registered myself."
Junior Allison Orjala, the public relations chair of College Democrats, stressed the importance of the college vote.
"We [the College Democrats] think it's really important that the college voice is heard," she said. "Unfortunately, young voters aren't aware of the repercussions of their vote."
The push for more informed voters is also a big objective for both executive boards.
"We're trying to get students informed about the election," said junior Clark Edwards, treasurer of the College Democrats. "Especially if you're undecided on which candidate to vote for [and] don't really know each party's platform."
Both groups also focus on candidates at a local level. The College Democrats and Republicans work closely with candidates running for positions in Greencastle, Putnam County and Indiana.
College Democrats has been approached by local candidates, such as Jeff Blaydes, who is currently running for Putnam County Commissioner, as well as Jinsie Bingham, who ran for city council last year.
The College Republicans are involved in the campaign efforts for candidate Richard Mourdock, who is currently running for the U.S. Senate against the democratic candidate Joe Donnelly. Several members are also involved in candidate Todd Rokita's campaign for Indiana State Congress.
Both organizations are working hard to increase campus-wide interest in politics. College Republicans holds bi-monthly meetings on Thursdays in Julian 300 at 6:30 p.m. In these meetings, executive members facilitate discussion about the economy and other relevant issues. These meetings help them gauge the level of involvement each member wants to have in the organization.
"We want students to be able to come and express their ideas in a free, open and safe space," DiRaffaele said. "Though a few members are involved in off-campus campaign efforts, these are voluntary options that would be separate from our bimonthly meetings."
"We're not just preaching to the choir that everyone in the organization has the same opinions," said Hillary Egan, a senior and vice president of College Republicans. "Amongst Republicans, there are many stances - far right to moderate. We want everyone to feel comfortable enough to come and express their ideas or just listen."
College Democrats also runs discussion based meetings, such as Pizza and Politics.
"Anyone is welcome," said Edwards. "Your official party affiliation doesn't concern us."
Both organizations are organizing a joint election night viewing party as well as other upcoming events in order to promote a bipartisan climate.
"Having both organizations run discussion- based meetings speaks highly of our liberal arts campus and the types of events we are able to sponsor," DiRaffaele said. "Here, you are able to be respectable towards other people and have an adult conversation about politics."
Information can be found about both groups through social media - which has played a big factor in promoting upcoming events. Each organization has an email account and an active Facebook group for students to join.
Students interested in the groups can contact College Democrats at collegedemocrats@depauw.edu and College Republicans at depauwcr@gmail.com.