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Concord University Young Democrats Make Their Presence Known

By Briana Gunter
On October 5, 2015

The newly formed Concord University Young Democrats art working to become an official charter with the West Virginia Young Democrats.
Photo courtesy of Emily Hawkins

While the next presidential election isn’t for another year, many people are already gearing up for the day at the polls.  Many organizations have been hosting rallies and debate watches to educate the general public about the candidates and where they stand on the issues. 

Concord University Young Democrats (CUYD) have recently made a comeback and are currently working on becoming an official charter with the state’s Young Democrats club.  According to the West Virginia Young Democrats (WVYD) website, WVYD is a broad-based, youth-led grassroots political organization.  WVYD mobilizes young people under the age of 36 to participate in the electoral process, influence the ideals of the Democratic Party and develop the skills of the youth generation to serve as leaders on a local, state, and national level.  CUYD currently have around 15 members and are making way with hosting and attending events all over the state.

Recently, CUYD attended the Federation of Democratic Women annual meeting in Pipestem, WV.  In attendance at the event was attorney Jaci Gonzales-Martin, who worked on the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case that ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states. CUYD member Ashley Hawkins said, “It was a wonderful and empowering experience to be able to speak to the women that do so much for our state and community. The Concord Young Democrats gained connections, knowledge, and a strong support system from this opportunity.”

CUYD also attended Autumnfest and volunteered at the Bernie Sanders information table.  While there, they handed out promotional material and educated those who came to them with questions about Democratic Presidential candidate Sanders.

On Friday, October 2, members had the chance to attend the 2015 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Celebration at the Charleston Civic Center, where they were able to hear former President Bill Clinton speak.  

According to a New York Times article written by Ashley Southall in August of this year, the Jefferson-Jackson dinners have been a Democratic tradition dating back decades that help to raise money for state and local parties. 

CUYD member Emily Hawkins recounted her experience at the dinner: “Listening to President Bill Clinton speak about WV was inspiring and reminded us about the great things in our state but also about the things that plague WV that we will hopefully be able to change.”  

She said the event opened up many opportunities for CUYD: “It was nice to meet people our age who are interested in learning from our predecessors and using that knowledge along with our new ideas and creativity to make a difference in WV. We made connections with many people, young and old, and to political science majors and Young Democrats interested in getting more involved, these connections are priceless.” 

While CUYD have been attending a lot of events lately, they are also in the process of planning a lot of events.  President Hunter Horton says “we are working on planning debate watches, voter registration drives and shortly we will be screening a documentary that was sent to us by the Southern Poverty Law Center that deals with voting rights, specifically the civil rights movement and how it affects us today.”  He went on to add that they are planning on having a presence at many local events to promote their messages and the events they will be holding on campus.  

The first Democratic debate is set to air on Tuesday, October 13, at 9 PM on CNN.  Anyone interested in viewing the debate on campus should look out for signs of CUYD hosting a debate watch where students will have the chance to discuss with others the issues that are brought up during the debate.

Emily Hawkins says the group “encourages anyone interested in politics and getting democrats elected into local positions to join CUYD.”  They meet weekly on Thursdays at 6 PM in the periodical room on the second floor of the library.  For more information on how to join CUYD or to stay updated on their upcoming events, visit them on Facebook at or contact President Hunter Horton by phone at 304-890-7640 or by email at

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