Over the past few years, politics have increasingly entered everyday conversations. On social media, in sports, at work — the constant talk of political issues such as immigration, election reform, and foreign affairs is everywhere. From a student perspective, there has definitely been a rise in the way that politics have made their way into classroom conversations. But where are the political student clubs?
According to the Spring 2021 Club Roster, there are seventy current clubs on campus. These clubs range from Investment Club, to Education Club, to English Club. While there are a handful of campus organizations such as the Political Science Academy and Peace Action Le Moyne that delve into some of these ongoing issues in our community, there is a deficit of explicitly politically affiliated clubs on campus for students to get involved in and gather with like-minded individuals.
When looking at neighboring universities, College Republicans, College Democrats, Turning Point USA, Young Americans for Freedom, and Young Democratic Socialists of America are just a few examples of political groups you might find there.
At SUNY Geneseo, they have almost all of these groups listed, with the addition of various advocacy groups, including Voices for Life, Green Environmental Organization, and Voices for Planned Parenthood.
Upon drawing comparisons, it is clear that Le Moyne’s lack of politically affiliated clubs is uncommon for Upstate NY campuses. Even in different parts of the country, political chapters and clubs are apparent. But what is the point?
Just like Economics Club or French Club, these groups are created for students to gather with like-minded individuals to share these interests with one another; they are also a great way for students to learn more about the ideas and values that each club promotes.
Similarly, clubs that align with the ideologies of political parties serve the same social purpose as these other clubs. While providing a space for students to gather with like-minded peers, they also give students the opportunity to learn about alternative ideas and solutions for ongoing issues that our nation faces. Events that these clubs put on — including guest speakers, news meetings, and even debates amongst other politically affiliated groups on campus — function as outlets for students to make their voices, beliefs, and passion heard, and drive change on campus.
Because Le Moyne is located in the Blue State of New York, it is not shocking that there is a prominent Democratic population on campus. Left-leaning ideas tend to guide the conversation when politics weave their way into classroom discussion. Students who want to further these conversations and spread these ideas outside of the classroom should be encouraged to start a club on campus that is representative of this. Respectively, because conservative ideas aren’t as represented in these political conversations that take place in the classroom, conservative students that created a club on campus would have an outlet for them to voice their opinions on current events and increase the ideological diversity on campus.
In addition to students utilizing political clubs to learn more about these ideologies and gather with peers that have similar beliefs, one of the most important functions could be to have an open dialogue with clubs that hold different viewpoints.
In our country, we have a significant number of people in either major political party; they have become increasingly polarized, no longer listening to what the other side has to say. Because people that lean to either side of the aisle are members of one nation, it is imperative for the two parties to be respectful of one another to create positive change in the country.
Having political clubs on campus functions as a way to listen to each other and create respect for one another — to move forward to decrease this polarization, thus beginning to heal our nation.
It can all start here at Le Moyne.
To start a club, refer to the Le Moyne Student Handbook. For additional information on starting a club, be sure to contact your SGA Representative.