Increasing political awareness aim of Y clubs

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    MICHELLE KOWALSK

    Becoming acquainted with local and presidential candidates, political issues and voter registration is how College Democrats and College Republicans say they would like to help BYU students prepare for November elections.

    “As Republicans, we believe that our country’s greatest strength is in its people, not its government; so as college students, we are helping people become active citizens,” said Scott Parker, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in political science. Parker is the state chair for Utah College Republicans.

    Michael Shumway, a senior from Orem majoring in political science, said the objectives of the College Democrats include stimulating an interest in governmental affairs, providing an opportunity to find political expression, fostering and encouraging the activities of the Democratic Party and promoting its ideals.

    Shumway, president of the BYU chapter of College Democrats, said the club usually co-sponsors a mock debate with College Republicans; each club representing its respective party.

    With elections coming, both clubs want voters to learn more about the candidates. Chris Cannon spoke at the College Republicans opening event. Shumway said he would like to bring local candidates on campus, so students can ask questions and learn about the candidates’ stands on important issues.

    Since this is an election year, there is a lot of excitement about politics, but the clubs are also active during non-presidential election years.

    Evans said that College Republicans focus on service projects for the community after the elections are over.

    College Democrats conduct seminars, like the “Why I’m A Democrat Seminar” that has been held in past years, Shumway said.

    Membership is high this year for both political clubs. During Club Week, 200 people signed up with College Democrats, while 700 signed up with College Republicans.

    Shumway said he was pleased with the number of students who had signed up with the Democratic Club.

    Parker said that BYU’s chapter was one of the largest College Republican clubs in the nation.

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