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Here you will find a brief description of the Washington and Jefferson College organization known as the College Democrats.
The Political side of W&J
The W & J College Democrats are dedicated to making a difference on campus, from doing all they can to promote the Democratic candidate who is running at the time, to promoting unity among all political organizations.
An excerpt from the College Democrats Constitution:
In order to promote a better America, with equality, opportunity, and freedom within a just and strong society, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the participation of democratic college students. As students, we call for actions based on principle and principles based on action. As Democrats, we pledge ourselves to continue the great thoughts of our party and to bring forth new ideas to keep the tradition alive. As citizens of today and leaders of the future, we shall strive to shape our party, communities, states, and nation. In this mission we call for full participation without regard to sex race, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.
Understanding the importance of participation in the Democratic Party, to the preservation of our values and principles, we pledge to organize and activate the latent people power of our nation's Democratic students to further the philosophy of the Democratic Party.
For these ends and upon these principles, we, Democratic college students, do hereby associate ourselves and adopt this Constitution as the Washington and Jefferson College of the Association of the College Democrats of America. -- Constitution of the Washington and Jefferson College Democrats
Meetings are held as frequently as possible, in the evening, in the HUB. The College Democrats are well known around campus for being involved in numerous programs and activities. Recently, former President Bill Clinton made a second visit to the campus. Members of the organization, as well as others who were interested, were responsible for seating the public, and assisting the government in maintaining control.
Another fundraiser that the College Democrats were involved in was the 25th quarter. The 25th Quarter involves the collection of money, quarters are preferred, but any form of money is accepted. The money raised is then sent to an organization for a philanthropic cause. This year, since the 25th Quarter was held around the Thanksgiving holiday, the proceeds were given to a program called 2,000 Turkeys. With the money they receive, 2,000 Turkeys buys turkeys for local Washington, PA families, to aid them during the holiday.
Recently, during the Presidential race for 2008, a debate was held between the College Democrats and the College Republicans. There, each person discussed the candidate's stance on a selected topic. A moderator was present, and it was an excellent replication of the actual Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.
They also have showings of movies, as well as other activities that involve building a strong organization. On the night of the Presidential election, the group gathered together to watch it all unfold. Not only was it an exciting historical event, it gave the members a chance to bond and get to know each other a little better.
The College Democrats is the perfect organization for politically active Washington and Jefferson students, and faculty.
Yes We Can....
In the final weeks of April 2007, W & J was pleased to welcome, at the time, Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama. His campaign used the Rossin Ballroom for a city Towne Hall meeting, for veterans, and their families. Although the original plan was for the visit to be kept a secret, the entire campus quickly found out, and everyone was filled with great anticipation. Having already had a visit from Bill Clinton, Barack Obama would be the icing on the cake.
Courtesy of www.barackobama.com
Originally, Barack was only there to speak to the Veterans of Washington County, but some students were fortunate enough to experience his surprise speech for W & J students, on the patio. Dr. Harding, an Assistant Professor of English, recalls witnessing Obama that breathtaking morning.
At the time, I was struggling to decide whether to support Clinton or Obama. Seeing Obama speak at W & J helped me make up my mind. He seemed very presidential to me. At the time, I pictured him standing on a debate platform next to John McCain, and I knew Obama would blow him away. I was also very effected by his claim that his campaign was a grass-roots movement like Civil Rights. As an American I am very proud of the Civil Rights movement and the ways our country changed (not completely, but significantly) as a result of it. Seeing Obama that day, I really believed he could pull it off. When I saw the statistics about how many Americans contributed to his campaign, I agreed with him that his support was really coming from the ground up. I saw Bill Clinton speak for Hillary too, and I liked Hillary a lot, but Obama really earned my respect that day.
This fall, my class called "The American Presidency in Fact, Fiction, and Film" visited places in Washington that former Presidents had been. For example, John F. Kennedy spoke at the courthouse steps. Ulysses S. Grant laid the cornerstone for Town Hall. The students ended their tour at the patio where Obama spoke. At the time (September 2008), we didn't know whether that site would really count or not. Now it does.
I also had the privilege of witnessing Obama speak during the meeting, and I must admit, I was awe-struck. I was also on the fence as to who I was going to support, having been a Bill Clinton/ Hillary Clinton fan, but seeing Obama deliver hes speech in person, was enough to seal the deal. I was asked to work the event, and my specific task was to be the microphone runner. I basically had to run the microphone to those who had questions, so I was able to stay close, and hear all he had to say.
He handled himself professionally, and made it a point to not only touch issues that concerned veterans, but he also focused on the usual Democratic issues. Being a part of the College Democrats has aided in making me an active student on W&J's campus. for that, I am forever grateful.
An Interview with the Advisor of the Organization, Ashley Williams
"It's actually a funny story, of how I became the Advisor. They asked Vicki Staton, but she said no, because she was too busy. I happened to overhear this, so I poked my head out and said 'I'll do it!'. I was one of the founding members of the College Democrats at Westminster College, so the organization has always been near and dear to my heart. Our organization is very strong right now, and it is a great opportunity for volunteer service. You can also learn how to become part of the process [politics/elections], and it is also a great place for networking and meeting new people.The organization is also known for social programs, as well as trying to make life better for everyone. We recently did the 25th Quarter, where we raise money for "Hunger and Homelessness Week". All benefits went to the 2,000 Turkeys Project. That is just one of the many philanthropic programs in which we participate."
If this still is not enough
Getting involved is as easy as it was to read this. Just send a quick friendly e-mail to the Advisor, asking to either be added to the listserve, or to be informed as to when the next meeting is. You could also pay her a visit, her office is located in the HUB.
Ashley Williams, Club Advisor Email: email@example.com