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Young Democrats Seek to Increase Political Involvement

By Kelson Howerton
On February 27, 2018

Pictured from left to right: Colten Ramsey, Zachary Adkins, Perri Williams, and John Gill
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Zopp

Last fall, Concord University’s grassroots political organization Young Democrats returned after several years of absence. 

As the counterpart Republican club was being formed, CU College Republicans President Jack Garwood gauged interest in bringing back the Young Democrats as well. Political science major Zachary Adkins took up Garwood’s offer and began organizing the group. The CU Young Democrats had their first meeting in September, and Adkins was voted in as president of the chapter.

In its first semester as an official organization again, the CU Young Democrats have been arranging to get students on campus to participate in politics and worked to help local communities. Coinciding with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Young Democrats sponsored a drive to collect toiletries, clothing, cleaning supplies, and other household items for women and children who were the victims of domestic violence. 

In addition to reaching out to the community, Adkins says the chapter has been getting involved in local politics by trying to get the word out about Democratic candidates in the area and encouraging students to register to vote. While no official plans have been set at this time, Adkins hopes to get a voter registration table set up somewhere on campus in preparation for the upcoming election in May. 

Similar to a fundraiser that was held last semester, this semester, the Young Democrats held a fundraiser raffling off a “date night” gift basket holding two tickets to the Winter Formal, a $25 gift-card, and other small gifts in an effort to get the club off its feet. 

Adkins says the current focus of the Young Democrats is to increase interest in the club so it will be able to continue into the next semester. As a senior graduating this May, Adkins hopes that the club will get enough support so that it can continue to “get people active in politics on campus, as well as spread the democratic message” after he is gone. 

This week,The CU Young Democrats held two interest meetings to increase involvement in the organization and to get to know more Democrats on campus. In addition to this, Adkins says the organization is looking to host a town hall with the College Republicans that will host several local candidates as guest speakers. Adkins added that West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda’s campaign manager has expressed interest in trying to get Ojeda to speak to the campus. 

This town hall will not be the first time Adkins and his fellow Young Democrats have worked with the College Republicans, as Adkins states the two political organizations have had a working relationship since the two groups were re-founded. “We’re willing to work with each other, which is unusual in [politics],” Adkins said. Adkins believes that together, the two groups have more power to get the Concord community more politically involved than separately, which is ultimately what he believes the goal of the Young Democrats to be. Stating his disappointment in the youth of America not being engaged in politics, Adkins hopes that organizations such as the Young Democrats and College Republicans will encourage students not to waste their voice by being apathetic to politics. “In a democracy, everybody should have a say,” Adkins said. “I mean, we do, but we just don’t do it.”
 
“If you want to be involved in politics, the Young Democrats is a great way to be active and network with other Democrats,” Adkins says.

For more information, follow the Young Democrats on Facebook and Twitter @CUYoungDemocrats or attend their weekly meeting every Thursday at 2 p.m. in Marsh Hall room 309.

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