The College Democrats has reformed on Union’s campus this semester, co-founded by Beth Adams, senior history and English double major, and Byron Elam, senior history major.
Elam has always identified as a Democrat. His interest in politics even led him to become a Democratic delegate this year for Bernie Sanders. Though he is involved in the Democratic party, he emphasized that he values the opinion of those across the political aisle.
“I’ve always identified as a Democrat, but I’ve always appreciated the opinion of those who don’t identify as a Democrat,” he said.
Adams is a registered Republican, though she soon will re-register as an Independent. While she does not identify fully as a Democrat, she said that many of her political opinions tend to lean left.
“My interests in this are more bipartisan than anything,” Adams said. “Mostly I want to be involved in this to help promote discussion and help promote awareness on both sides of the other party.”
Awareness and involvement are two themes for the co-founders, who emphasized that they are seeking discussion and analysis.
The organization will be a place for Democrats to share their ideas and a place for those interested to hear and contribute in dialogue. Both Adams and Elam described fostering shared understanding as their goal.
“I think it’s important that we hear both perspectives and that those on campus, that students who identify as Democrats, that they have a voice and that they have the opportunity to be among like-minded people and to listen to ideas and to share ideas,” Elam said.
The second role the organization will play is to help organize Democrats on campus to get registered to vote, host speakers, and promote Democratic politics.
Adams decided to try to re-form the College Democrats after hearing new students ask where the the College Democrats were while at a student activities fair. She immediately went to speak to Gavin Richardson, professor of English, who was and is the faculty sponsor of the College Democrats. He told her Elam, whom she already knew, had expressed interest in re-forming the club.
For Elam, this club not only helps his party, but it serves an overall need to get more people involved in politics.
“It only really works, talking about politics, when we are all involved,” Elam said. “The longer that we remain aloof or indifferent, the longer we endure not seeing our interests represented or dealt with.”
Both co-founders are seniors, and as a result, sustainability is a priority. They are seeking many underclassmen to get involved, so that the organization doesn’t graduate with Elam and Adams.
While Union University is hardly a center for Democratic political fervor, the organization has been largely welcomed onto campus.
“There has been a really positive response, I think” Adams said. “It seems like a big deal to be a Democrat in this really conservative campus, but obviously you can be a person of faith and a Democrat… I think a lot of people seem really excited that there is this opportunity for discussion”
The next meeting is open to all students and will be held on October 4, Pennick Academic Complex D-54 at 4:30 p.m.