Anh Nguyen | Associate Artist
With the increasing polarization in American politics, political science experts say college campuses are increasingly targeting college students to get them to vote. Freshmen are finally at voting age, and students are beginning to shape their political identities. Some students say political organizations on Tulane’s campus offer students a place to explore their political ideas.
Women in Politics
Women in Politics is a non-partisan organization that aims to encourage women to participate in politics both on and off campus. Given that WIP is a Newcomb group, this club focuses on the discussion of politics through a gendered lens.
Participants in WIP are active on campus but do most of their work with local groups in New Orleans, like Emerging Louisiana. Some members have gone on to intern for these organizations as well.
Members are active in volunteering for campaigns across the area. On campus, WIP partners with other groups to put on events, such as the Congressional Panel held on Sept. 23.
WIP President Bronte Foley noted the importance of female-centered political groups and the effects they can have on young women. According to Foley, the organization works to shift the political structure of society and allow more women roles in politics.
“The structure of government is inherently masculine and forces its female and non-binary participants to operate within an environment which was built to keep them on the outside,” Foley said. “Female-centric political organizations allow women to collaborate and ultimately influence those structures.”
Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty is also one of the non-partisan political organizations on campus but their views tend to fall towards Libertarianism. Their mission is simple: to promote the ideas of civil and economic liberty.
YAL members gather once a week to work on tabling campaigns and discuss politics. Each month ends with a capstone event to sum up the issue focused on that month. The issue for September is criminal justice reform and will feature a panel on Sept. 24 in Jones Hall.
YAL Vice President Rachel Altman said political organizations on campus serve to make college students think about issues they otherwise might not.
“It’s important that people have a realistic understanding of what different viewpoints mean,” Altman said.
College Democrats is one of two political organizations on campus that is a mainstream party affiliate. According to College Democrats President Henry Walther, the club has two primary goals: to uphold progressive ideals on campus and to enable students to get involved in both local New Orleans politics and national politics.
On campus, members of this organization lobby politicians both locally and nationally to make their voices heard. Off campus, students participate in partisan and nonpartisan races on behalf of progressive candidates as well as work with local advocacy groups such as the New Orleans Abortion Fund.
Walther said that he has benefited from the networking opportunities provided to him through College Democrats.
“Finding other students who not only share my political views but really want to do something to see them enacted in the real world was something that was really inspiring to me,” Walther said.
College Republicans is the other mainstream party-affiliated organization on campus. President Leland van Deventer said the group works to develop strong relationships between politicians and students.
College Republicans also works to provide their members with career advancing opportunities. Off campus, members take part in internship opportunities in congressional offices and think tanks. The club meets twice a month to discuss the current political climate and help sponsor various speakers and events on campus.
Van Deventer said political organizations like College Republicans help foster a healthy range of opinions on Tulane’s campus.
“In terms of public discourse, these same organizations … help to promote a more academically and philosophically diverse environment of public discourse here at Tulane,” van Deventer said.