New to the list of organizations this academic school year comes the Waynesburg University Democrats, a charter club set up through Student Services.
Professor Kevin McClincy is the advisor to this new club. He says he has tried before to initiate its formation but couldn’t meet the minimum requirement of 10 active members.
“In the past, this is my fourth year, I’ve tried for three years to garner enough students to justify the creation of the club,” McCLincy said. “This year, we finally got enough people who want to become actively involved to qualify as a club.”
Though they didn’t have club status, McClincy and a few students still did activities such as pizza on the third floor of Stover for whoever wanted to come and watch the Presidential debates and even offered voter registration.
“We registered a max of 60 students to vote and to fill out the forms to request an absentee ballot,” McClincy said. “Out of 1400 students, only 60 took advantage of that.”
McClincy says he sometimes grows frustrated with the lack of political involvement from the younger generation, which is part of what’s kept him pushing for this club.
“Why do you think a lot of people don’t bother to register or become involved?” McCLincy said. “Apathy. Lack of knowledge on issues. Clinging onto issues that may not be as impactful. Prayer in school, abortion, gay rights, burning of the flag. Issues that catch people’s attention, but the truth of a matter, how much does that actually impact your life?”
Educating the student body about these issues and inspiring them to take action is what the Democratic Club really focuses on.
“The purpose for [club] is to provide a forum for students that want to get actively involved in politics or who have an interest in progressive politics,” McClincy said.
Many students say their high schools didn’t really cover American Politics in depth, specifically current politics.
“What period of history is going to shape your ideology of what a government of the people, by the people, for the people going to be? Current. Right. But what do most students know about it? Not enough.”
In previous years, the students involved received paid and unpaid Internships with the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee that involved canvassing, handing out leaflets and simply knocking on doors to encourage voter turnout. The group this year is committed to do same things in upcoming fall elections, specifically the local ones.
“The key campaign down here is who will be the congressperson for the 18 congressional district,” McClincy said. “We work hard to support local democratic candidates, state democratic candidates. The students are going to get actual practical experience in working with political campaigns.”