IWU College Democrats chapter honored with a national award

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Emily Considine

The Illinois Wesleyan University College Democrats chapter is being honored by the nation for its accomplishments. After conducting voter registration drives, phone banks and working on philanthropy projects in the Bloomington area, the chapter received the College Democrats of America 2014 National Chapter of the Year award.

The chapter provides an example for breaking the stereotype of collegiate political participation. “It’s often said that students don’t vote or care about politics. IWU College Democrats have proven that is not always the case,” said Illinois College Democrats President Brexton Isaacs. The chapter was recognized for its ability to work with high-profile elected officials and candidates as well as educating students on Democratic values.

The Illinois Wesleyan College Democrats is a chartered chapter of the College Democrats of Illinois and the College Democrats of America, which is the official youth outreach arm of the Democratic Party. It consists of over 100,000 college and university students from across the United States. The organization has served as a way for college students to connect with the Democratic Party and Democratic campaigns and has produced many prominent liberal and progressive activists.

The chapter promotes public support with student leaders’ by engaging students through local, state and federal campaigns. Last fall, IWU College Democrats went to Virginia to campaign for the Democratic nominee for Governor and they have  hosted elected Illinois officials like Senator Dick Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn, and lieutenant governor Sheila Simon on campus. “It can be hard to mobilize young people into being interested in these topics, but we have an advantage in that the Democratic Party is one of inclusion and acceptance,” said executive board member of the chapter Annie Kehler. “Once we’re able to reach people and help them understand how much what we’re working towards affects them, we’re able to really make a difference on campus and in the community.”

When presenting the award in Atlanta, Georgia this past August, the Awards Committee acknowledged the chapter’s groundbreaking growth. The selection process includes chapters from around the country submitting a bid and presenting to a committee that considers who will receive the award. The committee is made up of one member from each of the eight regions around the country. “They consider things like chapter involvement, impact on the campus and community, political engagement, membership size and diversity, activity on and off campus and chapter growth,” said Isaacs.

Illinois Wesleyan’s chapter has grown immensely in the past couple years and continues to make prominent strides. They meet every Tuesday at 9pm in State Farm Hall 102, new members are always welcome.