As of Nov. 6, the election season came to an end. Finally, we can all relax and watch TV again without being assaulted by political advertisements. But staying politically active isn’t something students should only be doing every four years. After all, I’m sure we have all heard people say that young Americans aren’t involved enough in politics. While voting isn’t something young people can do on a regular basis, there are on-campus possibilities to stay in touch with politics between elections.
Here at the University of South Dakota, we are fortunate enough to have a College Republicans, College Democrats and a growing College Libertarians group. They gave students many options for finding ways to get involved. In addition to hosting group meetings, these organizations also participate in the annual Political Science League debate – where students are able to debate policy and platforms with one another.
During a time when all we seem to hear is that young people don’t care enough about politics, USD’s on-campus organizations show that there can be some faith in our generation. During election season, these groups were great examples for what students can be doing to spread the messages they believe in.
For example, when Kristi Noem came to the Al Neuharth Media Center here at USD to debate against Matt Varilek, the College Republicans and the College Democrats came out to support their respective candidates. A simple thing like coming together to hold up signs and cheer for the candidate you want in office can do a lot. It inspires people to want to learn about the candidates and their platforms, or even simply reminds them to register to vote.
These organizations even work outside of their party interests to further the political activism of students on campus. This year the College Democrats and College Republicans worked alongside the Secretary of State Jason Gant for his “Rock the Vote” campaign. Together, the groups were able to help students register to vote. In doing so, students not directly involved with any government organizations here at USD were still able to get involved in the election.
While I hope everybody was able to get out and vote Nov. 6, the likelihood that they did is slim. Voting is something all Americans have a right to, and it is a right all Americans should exercise. If you didn’t vote in this election, you still can find other ways to get involved. Join a campus organization for the party of your choice, or even reach out to the organizations to learn more about the parties they represent. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in politics, and our generation has a lot we can share.