Fairfield’s College Democrats pride themselves on registering over 200 students to vote since January, according to co-presidents Meaghan Kirby ‘16 and Riley Barrett ‘17.
“We consider voting to be really important, no matter which way you decide to vote,” said Barrett, who stressed the importance of being both politically aware and active.
“I think it’s important to vote because every single day the government is doing something that’s affecting us from healthcare to taxes to building the roads that we drive on,” said Barrett.
In addition to registering students to vote, Kirby and Barrett work on inviting speakers to campus and attending local events.
“We have had several dinners where some politicians have come in and spoken. We had Governor Malloy come in and speak to us twice,” said Barrett.
Additionally, State Representative Kim Fawcett and State Representative candidate Cristin McCarthy Vahey came to speak.
According to Barrett, the College Democrats also attend off-campus events.
“We did get tickets to when Michelle Obama was in New Haven and when Obama was in Bridgeport … A member actually spoke to Michelle Obama last weekend,” said Barrett.
When asked whether they support a specific candidate, Barrett and Kirby both stated that they are “less candidate driven” and more “policy driven.”
“We really want to bring awareness to what being Democratic more stands for as far as stripping off the stereotypes of what we’re supposed to like and not like,” said Barrett.
When asked about the club’s core values, Barrett said that the group has “the same core values, but certain ones of us may be slightly more driven in some areas than others.”
Some of the same core values Barrett mentioned were progressive stances on issues such as gay marriage and pro choice.
Looking toward the future, Barrett said the club is interested in having a debate with College Republicans. Another idea Barrett enthusiastically mentioned was a “Let’s Talk Politics” day.
“We could go around to a variety of different clubs like College Republicans, Students for Life, LEAF, S4SJ and then have each club pick one issue. Then [we’d] have tables set up and have people vote about what the most important issue is in today’s world,” said Barrett.
Barrett thinks this event would take away from political mudslinging and the popular technique of “bringing the opposition down.”
“Surprisingly we might find an issue that both parties agree with. And that’s a way to build common ground,” said Barrett. “That’s something we’re big on doing: building common ground. Because how can you expect Congress to do it if we can’t do it?”