Apr 062004
 
Authors: Amy Sulzbach

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,

McBeth said.

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

members.

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

Knight.

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

voice.

“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

politics.

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

said.

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

campus.

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