While scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, people may find themselves bombarded with an abundance of opinions or news about the current political climate. It can be confusing or upsetting and a lot to take in and understand. With an upcoming election, citizens have the opportunity to vote and use their voice to stand up for what they believe in. There are many ways to get involved and make a difference at NAU.
The NAU Young Democrats are active members of the political community in Flagstaff, using their voices to speak about relevant issues. The club was at the forefront of the #RitaResign coalition which consisted of protests regarding the overspending of students’ funds on the president’s behalf. Sophomore Sam Manning is the director of graphics for the organization and said they’ve also united with other clubs on campus to write a letter to NAU President Rita Cheng and the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).
Along with being politically active on campus, the club has been given opportunities to use their voice on a larger scale. They attend biannual conventions for the Young Democrats of Arizona, as well as conventions for the Arizona Democratic Party.
“With this club I have had amazing opportunities to attend events across the state, including meeting local and federal politicians, working with the Northern Navajo Nation Fair with congressmember Tom O’Halleran, lead numerous protests and attend the College Democrats of America Convention in Tempe, Arizona,” Manning said.
The Young Democrats encourages students to register to vote. It holds voter registration drives each year, registering over 500 students last year, Manning said. Having this kind of club at NAU encourages students to be informed and get involved, Manning said.
President of the Young Democrats, junior Collin Gunn, said politics impact every aspect of life and speaking up about important issues is crucial because people’s voices can help influence legislation and change the world. Gunn said he has used his voice to demand accountability from those in positions of power in both legislative and university settings.
Gunn said this club helped him discover his career path and the importance of political engagement.
“This club represents hope and possibility,” Gunn said. “It is absolutely amazing seeing what the members of the club can accomplish. Seeing the dedication and passion of our club members fills me with hope for our future.”
Tackling issues that are personally important to members are taken into consideration within the club as well. Junior vice president Makanakai Simson said that creating diversity within the club and on campus is an important matter to him. He said the organization has reached out to other organizations on campus like the Black Student Union to help promote and create more diversity.
Being the voice for the voiceless is a significant part of why Simson said he is politically involved and an active member in the club.
“I remember when I was younger, I was bullied because I had a learning disability and for the color of my skin,” Simson said. “They said to me that I would never matter, and my voice would never matter as well. Now, I want to continue fighting for the voiceless to have a voice in their government.”
The NAU Young Democrats is one of many clubs on campus that can provide a variety of opportunities for students. Becoming a member of a club may help guide and lead the way to success in political activeness. Using a person’s voice gives them the opportunity to speak out and make a difference.