Young Progressives stay prominent and informed

Published by , Author: Eric Davies, Date: October 25, 2018
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The Democratic Party is currently struggling with its identity across the country: it is having a discussion about the kinds of issues that led to the dispersion of the College Democrats here at Slippery Rock University last year. After working on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign, the executive board of the College Democrats found themselves at a crossroads as many other party members did after the election. Throughout the campaign, a divide began to form in the executive board between the moderate and progressive members. When it came time to determine the next group of leaders for the organization, the more centrist candidate was elected to the position of vice president despite a lack of experience and little support from longstanding members of the organization. With the help of voters who had never previously attended a meeting for the organization, the moderate Democrats had succeeded in denying a progressive the vice president position.

After this shift in values, Caitlyn Kilmer and Lindsay Newton decided that their beliefs were no longer accurately reflected in the College Democrats and set out to create their own organization.

“Me and the other co-founder, Lindsay Newton, realized that we were maybe a little more progressive than just Democrats and we kind of decided to just stray away and begin our own organization,” Kilmer said.

After guidance from a founding member of the University of Pittsburgh chapter of Young Progressives, the two decided to bring a chapter to SRU.

Following formal recognition by the Student Government Association at the beginning of the 2018 spring semester, the newly-formed organization immediately set to work sponsoring events and supporting progressive causes.

“We realized that we needed to be really outspoken on campus,” Kilmer said.

The group began by hosting a panel discussion on the legalization of marijuana with professors and speakers from every angle of the issue to provide multiple viewpoints. In addition to sponsoring their own events, the Young Progressives also take pride in co-sponsoring events with other advocacy groups like the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance’s Take Back the Night and pride events hosted by SRU’s LGBTQ group RockOUT. The members of Young Progressives also keep their presence on campus and issues in the public eye with public displays and information tables.

The organization is preparing for the midterm elections by hosting candidates and educating local voters about the progressive candidates on the ballot. The group hosted the only statewide candidate to visit campus, John Fetterman, during his primary run for the Democratic Lieutenant Governor nomination. In the coming weeks, they will host Lisa Boeving, a candidate for the Pennsylvania state congress, and will be advocating for other local candidates like Darcelle Slappy and Ron DiNicola.

The Young Progressives meet every other Wednesday at 8 p.m. in 113 Spotts. The next meeting will take place on Oct. 31.

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