The presidential elections may be a year away, but a new CSU student organization is looking to make an immediate political impact on campus.
Three students began the CSU for Howard Dean organization this summer as a way to promote college-student voting and to campaign for presidential hopeful Howard Dean.
Dan Fuhrman, president of the organization, went to a Northern Colorado for Dean meeting and was approached about beginning a CSU group.
“I was the first CSU student to show up at the meetings and they asked if I’d be interested in being a student liaison,” said Fuhrman, a second bachelor’s turf management major. “I found two other students who were interested and we registered with the Student Organizations Office.”
Fuhrman stressed that students do not have to meet any requirements to join the organization.
“It’s for whoever wants to. There’s no commitment, we just want people who want to help out,” he said.
Students of various backgrounds have joined the political organization because of their support of Dean’s ideals.
“I’m not a Democrat, but what brought Dean to my attention was that he voted against the war in Iraq and he voted against tax cuts,” said Todd Wojtowicz, a graduate student studying ecology. “He has been critical of George Bush, but he has also been critical of his own party for not standing up to George Bush.”
As president of the organization, Fuhrman emphasized the importance for students to support the troops in Iraq and not to express frustration towards Bush, even if they do disagree on his presidential decisions.
“We were thinking of sending boxes of goodies to the troops in Iraq to show our support,” Fuhrman said. “Dean is very strong on national security and I have no doubt that he would go to war in the right circumstances, but they still haven’t found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
Rebecca Fuller, a junior health and exercise science major, has been paying attention to Dean for the past year and his campaign has helped become interested in national politics.
“I’d like to see the people on campus be a little more interested in life beyond campus,” Fuller said. “Political awareness is important. There are a lot of changes that could be happening and it’s important to be a part of them.”
In addition to promoting Dean’s political views, Gary Kenyon, the faculty advisor for the group, hopes to encourage student voting at CSU and hopes the average voting statistics for voters aged 18-25 can ultimately reach the national average.
“In the 2000 presidential election the percentage of voters under 25 who showed up was 32.3 percent, which was 26.8 million voters,” Kenyon said. “The national turn-out was 52.3 percent. We’d still need another 5.4 million voters (under 25) to reach the national average.”
Some Republicans cannot argue with a desire for increased voter turnout, but Robert Lee, a senior political science major and state vice-chair for the College Republicans, does not completely agree with the CSU for Howard Dean organization.
“From a Republican perspective I disagree with the goal of the organization, but as far as being a student goes I think they have a noble purpose,” Lee said.
Despite students’ differing political party identification, Kenyon said the 2004 presidential election is not one to miss.
“This election is very important,” Kenyon said. “It will set a base for the nation, and maybe for the world.”