With the 2016 presidential election coming to a close, two groups on campus are preparing for either a celebration or the beginning of a new season: the SRU College Democrats and the SRU College Republicans.
Both clubs have been significantly involved on Slippery Rock’s campus this semester, especially during the debates and in the weeks leading up to Election Day on Tuesday Nov. 8. The groups held debate watch parties (the first of which was hosted by both groups), hung up posters and flyers to raise awareness of the presidential candidates and their stances and positions on popular issues and set up tables and booths encouraging students to exercise their right to vote.
Senior criminology and criminal justice major and vice president of SRU College Democrats Billy Killmeyer said the dynamic within the SRU College Democrats has certainly been different than usual this past election season.
“We wanted to create a sense of camaraderie within our club and with the SRU College Republicans as well,” Killmeyer said. “Both groups are set on encouraging people to just get out and vote and to get involved politically.”
SRU College Democrats and SRU College Republicans hosted a watch party for the first presidential debate at the end of September, and Killmeyer said the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and that people would not have even guessed that there were two different political parties in the room. Sophomore philosophy major and president of SRU College Democrats Caitlyn Kilmer said the club plans to remain as neutral as possible in hopes of future collaboration with SRU College Republicans.
Kilmer said the election season has increased the participation from students on campus, especially participation from freshmen, and that, in the past, election season has always been a big time to bring people into the club.
“As a whole, we are all Democrats because we’re all about equality, social justice and coming together,” Kilmer said. “We all have our own beliefs and we all have our own stories.”
Killmeyer said the SRU College Democrats work with many of the socially progressive groups on campus, including the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), RockOUT and NextGen, and they hope to work with other groups in the future.
On Election Day, SRU College Democrats plan on working with NextGen in setting up buses and carpools to help students get to the polling places. After time is up, Killmeyer said SRU College Democrats and NextGen will host a gathering for people to sit down, eat pizza and watch the election results. When the election is over, the SRU College Democrats plan to stay involved on campus with the support and awareness of social issues.
“I’m planning on relaxing, and hopefully celebrating, once this election is over,” Kilmer said. “There’s been too much hate and stress, and I’m glad that will be over.”
The Rocket made attempts at contacting the SRU College Republicans, but they did not respond.