Politics on Campus

Get an inside look at college politics including popular student organizations like the College Democrats and the College Republicans.

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Do you have a passion for politics, law, and government? Student activism is not just for political science majors. There are plenty of ways for you to stay up to date and get involved with current events on your campus.

College Democrats and College Republicans

The two primary political parties have official organizations on the majority of campuses across the United States. Both the College Republican National Committee and Young Democrats of America have over 1,500 chapters nationwide.

Even if your school is renowned for one party or ideology over another, student activism usually lends itself to participation from all sides of political spectrum.

The responsibilities of these groups range from partisan activities, such as voter registration education advocacy, entitlement programs, and financial reform. These groups can have a palpable effect on election outcomes. In 2010, the College Republican National Committee’s Operation Red November program sent volunteers to 32 of the most competitive political races of the season and helped the Republican Party gain victory in 28 of the races.

Check with your college to see if either of these groups has a chapter on your campus. If not, contact the organization through their website to learn more about starting one.

Most Politically Active Colleges

Unsurprisingly, some of the most politically active campuses can be found in Washington, D.C., including Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University.

In general, diverse areas boast a broad range of various political student groups. For example, Columbia University and New York University have active participants from all sides of the political spectrum, partly due to the eclectic mix of individuals that make up New York City’s population.

Even if your school is renowned for one party or ideology over another, student activism usually lends itself to participation from all sides of political spectrum. At UC Berkeley, which is known as one of the most liberal campuses in America, the College Republicans actually has more members than the Cal Berkeley Democrats.

Student Politics: Tips and Tactics

  • Attend events and meetings for both parties. Even if you feel you have already made up your mind as to which party better suits your beliefs, it’s important to understand where both sides are coming from to truly get a grasp on the political sphere.
  • Don’t just focus on national politics – stay involved with local elections as well. Despite the fact that local issues are often neglected due to lack of exposure on television, the Internet, etc. -they have a bigger impact on your day-to-day life. In turn, you can have a bigger effect on the outcome of elections.
  • Always be respectful of others’ views. Remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. While it is perfectly healthy to engage in debate, you should never look down on someone or become antagonistic just because they disagree with you.

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