November 2008 displayed the power and importance of young Americans participating in their government. Millions of young voters showed up at the polls to vote for President Obama. A lesser-known fact is that there were millions of young activists working hard in every state on national, statewide, and local campaigns. These activists are still working hard, fighting for candidates and constitutional initiatives on the ballot this November. These activists have a name, face, and organization they belong to - The College Democrats of America (CDA).
I am proud to represent the thousands of youth activists CDA helps train, engage, and introduce into political organizing. While a few of my colleagues recently articulated their frustration with youth representation and organizing, I hope to shed a rosier picture of how youth engage their peers on their campuses.
On October 7th, thousands of CDA members organized over 75 events across the country, in more than 20 states to discuss the importance of health care reform to youth. These events included: health care rallies, debates with elected officials, phone banks to members of congress, and panels with health care experts. I have no doubt that each event had a unique impact on the campus and students who participated. (Please find a list of the events at the end of this article).
In addition to the events and work on October 7th, CDA is working with students on the New Jersey Governors race, Maine's No on Prop 1 campaign, and the Virginia Governors race. These are examples of a few electoral events CDA continues to work on. Then there are the more unique and original ways young people are getting involved. A particular story might help illustrate how youth contribute to "the cause."
The California College Democrats decided that the passage of Prop 8 did not end their desire for equality in their state and in other states. Students created and launched the campaign "Textbooks4Change," which allows students to purchase their textbooks through a system that donates 6% of their purchase to the Courage Campaign. Recently the leaders decided to send money to help the efforts in Maine for "No on Prop 1."
These are just a few examples of how the College Democrats, the official youth arm of the Democratic National Committee, continue to engage young people in politics. Our members work hard to engage their peers and campaign for the issues President Obama champions. We will continue to organize on our campuses across the United States to engage in substantive discussions on the major issues facing our generation - access to higher education, health care, the environment, and human rights.
Heath Care Events Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009
+ Harvard University College Democrats | Holding health care phone booths (through OFA) outdoors, and collect photographs for a photo petition.
+ University of Michigan College Democrats | Working with multiple student organizations to table and flier across campus.
+ Lambuth University College Democrats | Showing the PBS Frontline Documentary "Sick Around the World" followed by a Q&A discussion group with an organizer from the Tennessee Health Care Campaign to see how we can best be a part of the change in our own country.
+ Dartmouth University College Democrats | Hosting a debate with the College Republicans. Also inviting a professor lecture about the current health care debate. Giving cookies to students who call Sen. Judd Gregg in Washington and tell him to vote for health care reform.
+ University of New Hampshire College Democrats | Sponsoring a special event designed to increase awareness of the 145,000 New Hampshire residents without health insurance. Also setting up a call station to call Senator Judd Gregg in Washington urging him to vote for health care reform.
+ Franklin Pierce University College Democrats | Showing Michael Moore's SiCKO, followed by a forum discussion with audience.
+ University of New Mexico College Democrats |Tabling and gathering signatures in conjunction with Organizing For America. Encouraging students to call their Senators.
+ University of Central Florida College Democrats |Handing out fliers with contact information for the Florida Congressional delegation to students and urging them to call lawmakers in Washington.
+ University of Tennessee-Martin College Democrats | Holding an on-campus rally in support of health care reform.
+ Florida International University College Democrats | Showing the PBS Frontline Documentary "Sick Around the World." Also chalking around campus and phonebanking Sen. Nelson and various Representatives.
+ Columbia University College Democrats | Two-pronged phone banking for health care reform and a health care debate with the Columbia University College Republicans.
+ University of Central Florida (Orlando) College Demorats | Students will dress as doctors encouraging students to contact Congressman Grayson
+ Emory University College Democrats | Handing out posters and stickers, distributing a petition and information about health care reform.
+ Austin College College Democrats | Holding a satirical protest akin to "Billionaires for Wealthcare."
+ University of Maine College Democrats | Phonebanking and tabling with Organizing for America to contact Sen. Snowe
+ Colby College College Democrats | Author letters to Senator Snowe to encourage support of the President
+ Husson University College Democrats | Writing letters to Sen. Snowe to encourage support of the Presiden's agenda
+ Bowdoin College College Democrats | Hosting a meeting with Wendell Potter, former CIGNA Insurance executive who has been testifying on HCR
+ Bates College College Democrats |Rally against Rep. Anthem, who is trying to block HCR
+ Providence College College Democrats | Health care Debate with College Republicans
+ Florida State University College Democrats | Hosting a tabling awareness day with OFA, a heath care debate versus the College Republicans, a water balloon awareness fight, and a special health care information session.
+ Vanderbilt University College Democrats | Health care reform info meeting: who, where, why, and what you can do to help
+ Louisiana State University College Democrats | Calling Senator Landrieu, sending letters to Congress, screening "Sicko" followed by a discussion of health care policy.
+ Smith College College Democrats | Tabling in the Campus Center, making quick phone calls to Washington, and participating in Organizing for America's Health Reform Video Challenge.
+ Pennsylvania Federation of College Democrats | "Call your House member" tabling across the state
+ University of Texas College Democrats | Tabling with information on health care in West Mall
+Baylor University College Dems | Tabling in the main campus student center & calling Sen. Hutchinson & Cornyn
+Brandeis University College Democrats | Hosting a letter writing campaign, phone banking representatives, and hosting an open forum for students who have questions and want to discuss health care reform.
+Stephen F. Austin State University College Democrats| Tabling for health care reform on campus
+ Brown University College Democrats| Petition for Reform + University of Texas-Pan American College Democrats | Phone Banking Party for Health Care + Penn State University, University Park College Democrats | Why You Should Care About Health Care, handouts, tabling & peer to peer communication. + Boston University College Democrats | BU College Democrats Letter to the Editor
+ UC Santa Barbara College Democrats | Tabling and encouraging students to contact their member of congress
+ Ohio State University College Democrats | Tabling, quartersheeting and phonebanking in the campuses central area
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