Today is January 26, 2017, six days into an new presidency and administration in this nation. The peaceful transition of power is one of the most beautiful traditions of our democracy, but we as citizens still have a responsibility to stay politically involved in the four years between presidential elections – and, honestly, in the two years between Congressional elections.
After this election, I’ve personally been galvanized into getting more vocal about my values and beliefs, and in speaking about what I feel is right and just. In that personal resolution, I’ve done a lot of research into what organizations and opportunities exist on campus to get students talking about politics and staying informed on current events.
The good news is that there are tons of clubs for just about every political interest! Here are some of the most active on campus (and a very small sample of a large community of student advocates):
College Republicans and Dems – the bread and butter of your political experience on any college campus. Affiliated with their respective national organizations, Repubs and Dems actually team up pretty often for debate and speech watch parties. They also host voter registration drives, canvass for their respective candidates, and comment on current events.
Young Americans for Liberty – This is an organization that promotes libertarian values on campus. If the mainstream two-party system doesn’t work for you, consider a third way. After Gary Johnson’s relative success in the presidential election this past year, I imagine libertarianism will continue to grow in the face of frustration with the Democratic Party and the GOP.
IDEAL – IDEAL, which stands for Inform, Discuss, Enlighten, Acknowledge, and Learn, seeks to change the way we talk and think about politics in this country. Instead of talking about the issues from one narrative, IDEAL encourages us to develop our own opinions and, more importantly in this day and age, encourage us to listen to each other. IDEAL at JHU often publishes and shares articles, holds speaker panels and events, and has often co-hosted speech and debate watch parties with Repubs and Dems.
Voice for Choice and Voice for Life – Both sides of the abortion debate are represented at Hopkins, and you can often find these organizations giving out buttons, chalking on campus, and holding events on the Quads, as well as participating in some advocacy and lobbying work off campus.
FAS and MSE Symposium – FAS and MSE are JHU’s two student run speaker series on campus, bringing names like Bernie Sanders, Edward Snowden (via Skype), Ava DuVernay, and Joe Lieberman. MSE runs in the fall and FAS in the spring, making the entire year full of incredible visitors to campus speaking for free to students and members of the Hopkins and Baltimore community.
Students for Environmental Action – SEA members are dedicated to environmental advocacy and making campus a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly place.
Students for a Democratic Society – Hopkins SDS is a combination undergrad and graduate student organization focused on creating a more just and democratic society through demonstration and protest. They seek to make Hopkins a community of activists and make Hopkins students catalysts for social change on campus and in the outside community.
Model UN and Debate – Get behind a microphone and talk about current events with other college students from around the country and the world.
The Politik – The Politik is a weekly undergraduate political opinions magazine that publishes editorials on Hopkins, Baltimore, the US, and International current events. Permanent positions as editor and staff writer exist, but also the Politik takes guest-written articles every week to get a wide range of opinion from the Hopkins community.
This, of course, does not discuss all of the clubs at Hopkins that do political work on campus. Certainly, it is encouraging to see so many varied interests represented on campus, including other advocacy related to the Israel-Palestine conflict, North Korea, and various culture clubs that represent the massive amounts of diversity in the student body. No matter what you want to fight for, you’ll find a similarly-minded group of students here at Hopkins.