By Emily Harris
Campaign signs lining Washington Avenue are a constant reminder that midterm elections are quickly approaching. While many students at Washington College are not Maryland residents, members of the campus community have still found ways to get involved.
In anticipation of the Nov. 4 elections, multiple clubs on campus have been working to facilitate discussions on campus about issues relevant to Maryland voters and provide WC students with opportunities to become informed.
On Sept. 22, the College Republicans club hosted gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan on campus. The talk was well-attended according to president of the club senior Kevin Lair, and the crowd featured not only WC students but members of the Chestertown community as well. This event was followed by a Google+ Hangout with congressional candidate Dan Bongino on Sept. 24 that was sponsored by the Maryland Federation of College Republicans and all of the chapters of College Republicans in Maryland.
In addition to on-campus events, both the College Republicans and the College Democrats have volunteered their time off campus in various ways to support candidates of their respective parties. “College Democrats have been phone banking and canvassing with the Kent County Democrats all this semester to get Democratic officials elected to office,” said junior Philip Villaverde, president of the College Democrats.
Members of the College Republicans have also participated in phone banks sessions for federal, state, and local elections, been involved with “Super Saturday” campaign efforts, and volunteered with the Republicans of Kent at their headquarters downtown. Many have also been a part of the campaign efforts through summer internships.
Even though Maryland may not be every WC student’s home state, Villaverde and Lair both said that student involvement is important. “Our views are diverse and important, and we should do everything we can to advocate for candidates we believe in, policies we support, and elections that are competitive rather than predetermined,” said Lair.
Villaverde said there is a lot more to political involvement than casting a ballot on Election Day. “Political participation derives from the freedom to speak out, assemble, and associate, the ability to take part in the conduct of public affairs, and the opportunity to register as a candidate, to campaign, to be elected, and to hold office at all levels of government,” he said. “Democrats in Kent County or that attend Washington College are doing just that.”
Before Nov. 4, students from both clubs will come together with members of the campus Maryland Student Legislature for the annual College Republicans and College Democrats debate. The event will take place on Sat., Nov. 1 in the Egg at 1 p.m. and will be moderated by the Maryland Student Legislature.