Sept. 25 is National Voter Registration Day. Students can register to vote next to Ball State's Barnes and Noble Book Store. Rebecca Slezak, DN
Politics: Campus groups help students see beyond 'black and white'
Editor’s note: Dominic Bordenaro previously wrote columns for The Ball State Daily News. Ben Baker previously wrote for The Daily News. Jordan Moorman previously wrote for The Daily News.
Students have many options on campus to get involved and learn more about political parties and their candidates.
Young Americans for Liberty, Ball State College Republicans, BSU Democrats and Turning Point USA are four political prominent groups on campus where ideas and values are shared and discussed among students.
Young Americans for Liberty
Ball State’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty provides a place for students to discuss current events and focus on the importance of freedom.
The chapter is the smallest political group on campus, but the executive board is working to build their numbers.
While the group does promote Libertarian values — ideas that fall more into a conservative category — vice president Autumn Michelle said the group is not limited to Libertarians and accepts “anybody’s opinions, no matter what.”
To emphasize how important welcoming everyone and the freedom of speech are to the Young Americans for Liberty, Michelle said the organization hosts an event where members pass a freedom of speech ball around campus and allow people to write what they want on it.
With the chapter, advisory member Jacob Baldridge said he hopes to educate members about the difference of rights between state and federal levels as well as suggest ways on how to be politically informed.
“I think the best way to stay informed on politics is just definitely look at multiple sources and really make sure you're able to fact check what’s being said in the political realm outside of just looking at say a fact checker because sometimes even they have a bias or they have something that's going to editorialize the topic,” Baldridge said.
Ball State College Republicans
Many members of the Ball State College Republicans also agree that students need to stay informed with politics in the world by “learn[ing] the political climate of your locality.”
“It’s super important because young people are at a unique point in life where a majority of them are not married, they’re in school and they don't have a lot of time, which makes them perfect for politics,” said organization president Isaac Miller.
“Actually if you ask anyone who has worked in Washington DC or in the state house, they'll tell you the majority of things that are done, that are ran, are ran by people under the age of like 26.”
When it comes to different sides of the political spectrum, member Jordan Moorman said the group believes everything is a lot less “black and white” than it may seem, so to help sort through the common assumptions, the Ball State College Republicans advise students to start a conversation.
The group meets Thursday evenings and tries to have a guest speaker as often as possible. In the past, they have heard from Mike Pence and organizations like Americans of Prosperity.
“Local politics in itself affects you in your daily life, way more than any other level of politics ever will, especially if your someone who doesn't work in politics or doesn't stay super involved,” Miller said.
Following a similar model as the Ball State College Republicans, BSU Democrats also host representatives from their party to speak. These speakers help students keep up with the “fluidly changing” atmosphere of politics, whether they are Democrats or not, said co-president Matthew Gammon.
Co-President Dominic Bordenaro said he got interested in politics after making rounds knocking on doors for Charlie Wyatt, the mayor of Boonville, because the action can greatly affect potential voters.
“Whether it's health care or education or roads or jobs, [politics] affect everything related to college students no matter your major,” Bordenaro said.
Freshman member Lauren Kamykowski also said students should be more active in politics because they are the only ones looking out for their futures.
“It’s no secret that people voting in America are older people — 50s and up, 40s and up," Kamykowski said. "People who are older care about their specific issues which are important, and they should be represented...
"But [as] the young generation, we’re inheriting this country. I don't know if I trust every older person in this country to vote on my behalf instead of theirs, and so I think it’s important to care about issues that are important to you.”
Turning Point USA
As a nonpartisan group, Turning Point USA promotes ideas regarding free markets, limited government and fiscal policy. Despite the overall varying beliefs of its members, group president Nathan Crapo said these three ideas help bring everyone together.
“We don’t mind having people who disagree with us,” said executive board member Ben Baker. “Come and talk with us if you don't like or have questions about what we're saying. Those are the conversations that are fun. It’s definitely nice to have people who agree with us… but the fun times are when that doesn't happen. We welcome that challenge as long as you're respectful with us.”
To promote its ideas on campus, Turning Point USA focuses on activism by hosting events around campus that express its three key ideas, Crapo said.
Crapo also said that by joining Turning Point USA and scheduling these weekly events, he has become more politically active.
“When I first joined Turning Point, I didn't have much experience at all about going out getting active politically,” Crapo said. “Now I’m scheduling an activism event once a week and organizing our young volunteers to get out and have knowledge and ability to go out, be with us and campaign for ideas that we [support].”
Turning Point USA holds biweekly meetings at 7 p.m. Wednesday nights in LB 108. Their next meeting will be Nov. 7, where they will host a post-election discussion.
Contact Alyssa Cooper with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.