Standing alone in an uninhabited hallway is not what Ashleigh
McBeth had in mind when she followed signs to a Young Democrat’s
meeting last fall.
McBeth, a recent transfer student, was hoping to become involved
with the on-campus political organization.
She had found her way to what was advertised as a regular group
meeting, but instead she found nothing but an empty room in the
Lory Student Center.
“There was nobody there,” said McBeth, a junior political
science major. Apparently, “it had been canceled” last minute,
Her experience prompted her to look into the group on the state
level, the Colorado Young Democrats. With some investigation and a
semester’s worth of work, McBeth has resurrected the once inactive
chapter of the Young Democrats.
McBeth said she was told the group stopped meeting when the
leadership dissolved at the end of the 2002-2003 school year
because of graduation and study abroad opportunities for several
In order to be recognized as an official chapter of the Colorado
Young Democrats, McBeth was told to create a leadership team
consisting of a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
Only this semester did the team finally fall into place when she
filled the treasurer slot with junior political science major Doug
Josh Metten, a sophomore biological science major, currently
serves as the group’s vice president. The leadership team wants to
be more active than the previous group.
So far, the group has updated the Young Democrat’s Web site and
began advertising and brainstorming for ideas.
Toward the end of March, when the group was tabling in the Lory
Student Center Plaza, many students told McBeth that they had never
heard of the Young Democrats.
According to McBeth, the absence of an organized group of
Democrats at CSU has not been good for re-recruitment. The group
solicited between 55 and 60 e-mail addresses throughout the
semester and has started a mailing list to inform members and
students interested in the group.
McBeth said the Young Democrats should be an accessible group
for students to “come and share an ideology.”
Using fliers, planning events, bringing in speakers and
connecting with other colleges’ Young Democrat groups are the
primary methods McBeth plans on using to change the absence of
Democratic involvement on campus.
This means “more outreach to the student body,” McBeth said.
McBeth said the purpose of the group is to create a balanced
sense of politics on campus.
Not only will the Young Democrats be targeting those who share
their ideological preferences, but also those with independent or
undecided political preferences.
“We are concerned with explaining why the Democratic Party is
the better option,” Metten wrote in an e-mail.
Jon Dodson, a junior forestry management major, said he hopes
that the group can get together to discuss issues and have a
“There should be a group that brings Democrats together on
campus,” Dodson said.
Dodson, along with fellow student Jerrry Overmyer, followed ads
to the Young Democrat’s “Kick-Off” party March 30.
Overmyer, a graduate student in math, ate pizza and drank soda
on the porch at Woody’s Woodfired Pizza, 518 W. Laurel, as a way to
meet other Democrats who share his beliefs and political goals.
Under a vinyl sign saying “Colorado State Democrats,” a group of
about 20 students seeking membership discussed ideas, plans and
goals for the year over the smell of freshly baked pizza.
Overymyer said he hopes the group can be a “grassroots way of
making some changes” politically.
McBeth said she wants to bring speakers in to talk to members as
well as the student body. Bringing in speakers is one of the ways
the group will work to provide more of an education about
Doing this will make the group a “learning experience” for
students who attend group functions, McBeth said. One way the group
has already begun promoting political awareness among students is
to register voters while they have tables set up on the Plaza.
McBeth said learning about and discussing politics as a group of
students who agree on issues is what she wants to focus on, rather
than starting any controversy on campus.
In light of a recent project – liberal graffiti cleanup – from
College Republican’s, McBeth said the group wants to avoid “grief”
like that, especially with elections on the way. McBeth said she
wants to shun projects or plans that could cast a negative light on
the Young Democrats.
“We are not interested in running a major smear campaign against
any other party,” Metten wrote.
The group stays away from committing support to any candidate
running in the upcoming election until the candidate is officially
running. Even so, the group will most likely be supporting Sen.
John Kerry from Massachusetts for president in November, McBeth
Besides working with the Young Democrats on the state level,
McBeth said the group will have strong ties to the Larimer County
Democrats, even keeping informed and involved with them over the
summer to ensure that the group remains an active presence on