After kicking off the semester with their first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year last Thursday, the NYU College Democrats are aiming big by breaking down.
After a semester of planning led by former club president and 2017 CAS graduate Michael DeLuca, the club has introduced “task forces,” smaller groups made up of members that take on specific issues such as women’s health, affordable housing, voter suppression, criminal justice reform, democracy, gerrymandering and much more. Students will also have the opportunity to create new task forces based on their interests.
According to club leadership, abandoning the concept of an executive board who runs all club affairs makes it easier for the large influx of members to get involved and stay active with topics that suit their passions. Members have the opportunity to organize initiatives within their respective task forces, allowing for more focused action to be taken within the community.
“We decided to make the change because we wanted ev- eryone to realize that NYU Democrats is not an organization that has any sort of hierarchy or structure,” NYUCD political director and Liberal Studies junior Ollie Jones said. “When you decentralize it like this, more ideas get heard, more voices come out and we get a clearer sense of what needs to be done.”
While it is early in the year for the club to have concrete plans, the NYU Democrats are using this semester to contribute to local Democratic campaigns by volun- teering time, canvassing neighborhoods, putting up iers and making calls. While NYUCD does not endorse specific Democrats for office during the primaries, the group has been active in the mayoral and city council races. Club members also plan on doing similar work in New Jersey some time this semester.
“We had a lot of freshmen canvassing for local Democrats [last weekend],” NYUCD Secretary and Gallatin junior Jenny Neuman said. “It’s a lot of phone calls, making sure people are registered to vote and know when to vote and where to go. I’m really excited about the grassroots activism.”
The club plans on continuing with annual traditions such as debates against other political organizations on campus, namely Republican, Socialist and Libertarian clubs, as well as the College Democrats of New York Convention, where members get to interact with clubs from schools like Cornell and Columbia.
In light of national politics, NYUCD also hopes to shed light on issues by holding information sessions to educate students and providing support and resources to members whose hometowns have been “hit the hardest by this administration,” according to Neuman.
The club plans to draw on students’ connections from previous volunteer work and internships, inviting speakers from organizations such as Black Lives Matter to club meetings and events.
“Right now, we are really focusing on harnessing the energy we saw from people after the election,” NYUCD events coordinator and CAS junior Kelsey Moore said. “There was the possibility for membership in College Dems to take a hit. Instead we saw the opposite. We want people to feel productive and involved.”
For more information about NYU College Democrats, visit their Facebook page or stop by their meetings at Kimmel Center for Student Life on Thursdays at 7 p.m.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 18 print edition. Email Sakshi Venkatraman at [email protected]