With a new organization on campus, much cannot be expected early on, but the Missouri Western Democrats have proven that wrong.
Many students are unaware of the organization and its purpose. Amanda Johnson, president of Missouri Western Democrats, is a senior and a double major in political science, sociology and a minor in English literature. She is a busy woman, but finds time to be involved with the organization.
“The organization has many different purposes,” Johnson said. “We have three components. We have education, social, and activism. We get involved with local democrats in the community and their organizations. We did a charity event to raise money for a few candidates that were running. We also do social events like a movie night with each other. We do educational meetings with guest speakers on particular topics.”
Cara Judd is the treasurer for the organization and a junior at Missouri Western with a major in English literature. She said that the organization has a different approach to every month.
“The month of March was our education awareness month,” Judd said. “We had Melanie Smith, the superintendent for the Saint Joseph school district come; she was our guest speaker at a meeting. This month I believe our focus is environment.”
Jessica McMinn is the vice president of the organization and a junior at Missouri Western, majoring in English education. McMinn is worried the organization is not growing as fast as they hoped because some students may think the organization is just an excuse for students to sit around and talk down on the Republicans.
“We want our organization to grow,” McMinn said. “As it stands, we do not have many members, and honestly it’s a little strange. We believe we don’t have many because students see us as partisan, but we’re not. If anything, that is the most important point. We are about critical and current issues facing our country, our school and our families. We believe everyone has the right to be informed and we provide the information for free.”
The organization is not just sitting around talking about local legislation or issues we are facing today; the organization is becoming involved with charities in the area.
“We actually had a fairly decent fundraiser right before the Christmas break,” Judd said. “About $180 was raised and we donated tons and tons of socks and underwear, hats, gloves and all kinds of things we had took in.”
The Missouri Western Democrats are not a picky bunch. Anyone is allowed to attend the meetings even if they are not a member. The main goal for this organization is to introduce politics to the students with the hopes the students will understand what is happening in the world.
“People kind of have a stigma about politics and about government, but particularly it is something that affects us as students,” Johnson said. “There is so much that is happening in legislation with about education. That affects us and if you get involved, whether you are Republican or Democrat, chances are you can do more about it.”
The students involved with this newly formed organization have a plan to take it to a new level. It is slow to become recognized on campus, but the students are handing out flyers and posting everything they can on bulletin boards in hopes to create a stronger following.
“Right now, since we just started, we have eight official members,” Johnson said. “I am hoping to get more because once I leave and the rest of the board graduates next year that we have a strong core that can continue. Democrats have kind of come and gone on campus, so I am hoping we will have a stronger following, especially with the presidential election after I am gone.”
The organization is consistent on their meetings. Order is a major part of what goes into politics and the Missouri Western Democrats have not missed a beat.
“We meet twice a month every month,” Johnson said. “We do one educational meeting and one social meeting. We meet in Spratt 205 every other Monday at 7:30 P.M. our next meeting will be on April 4 and then April 18. We will then have a final meeting which will just be a get together and start making plans for next semester.”
The organization will not be handled just during the school year; the official members will stay in touch and work out details on events for the fall.
“The great thing about working with the community Democrats is they keep us together,” Johnson said. “They keep events going for us. We participate back and forth throughout the summer, we go to their events and they come to ours. They also help with advertisement and keeping it going in circulation because they have more channels and connections then we do.”