The Tulane Hullabaloo

Tulane student becomes president of College Democrats’ statewide chapter

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More than ever before, college students are taking a more active role in politics. For Tulane University sophomore Henry Walther, however, his role involves leading a cohort of college students working to influence Louisiana politics, and eventually, national politics as well.

During the summer of 2018, the College Democrats of America sought to provide additional support for states expecting elections in 2019. The organization revived the statewide chapters of many College Democrats chapters, including Louisiana, in which seats in both chambers of the United States Congress will be open.

There will also be a gubernatorial election held to elect the next governor of Louisiana. Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards is running for re-election for a second term.

The national chapter reached out to College Democrats on various college campuses for the opportunity to work for the statewide chapter, and as the president of Tulane’s chapter, Walther applied and got the position.

Walther says his first initiatives as the new president of the statewide chapter are to guide new college chapters as they begin to structure their respective organizations.

“From the state federation level, I think we should still give a lot of flexibility to school chapters, because I go to school in New Orleans, and I don’t know what’s happening in Lafayette,” Walther said. “My main goal is just going to be able to provide additional support, especially for new chapters. They’re just getting started. That’s kind of our number one priority for this academic year.”

In addition to ensuring college campuses have a base for beginning their own chapters, the state level of College Democrats will also correspond with college campuses about their campaigning plans for the re-election of Governor John Bel Edwards.

“We’re also going to be reaching out and talking with the Louisiana Democratic Party which we’ve talked to some on John Bel Edwards’ campaign and kinda making sure there’s a coordinated effort across all college campuses to re-elect Edwards,” Walther said. “It’s kinda incredible to be a Democratic governor in Louisiana. It’s not incredible — it’s because of all the hard work that was put in that has to be duplicated if we want this second term.”

Though students’ lives are bound to be busy with the mounds of classes and social commitments, Walther says that it is still important for students to be informed about politics and vote on initiatives that affect their everyday lives.

“It is important to realize that not everyone has that privilege, and the policies that are being enacted right now on local, state, and federal levels are really impacting people’s lives both in good and bad ways,” Walther said.

To get students more involved, the statewide chapter of College Democrats will host a convention every spring, a requirement in order for the organization to be an active federation. This convention, Walther says, will give students the opportunity to network with other college Democrats across the state and potentially meet with elected officials.

Additionally, Walther said he hopes to create a database that will provide a portal for students to find internship and volunteer opportunities across the state.

For the future of the College Democrats, Walther’s goal is to magnify the voices of students in politics.

“I think that we have a lot of good ideas but a lot of times because we’re inexperienced, we have a lot going on, we’re really busy with school and social life that we’re not very organized,” Walther said. “But I really think that if college students organize both on campus and statewide, we really have an important and powerful voice, and a voice that’s really progressive and that can do a lot of good things.”

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Tulane student becomes president of College Democrats’ statewide chapter