Election year affects university’s political groups

Samuel DeVoy, Engagement Editor

College students have an obligation to participate in the electoral process, and every four years the USI community sees an influx of on-campus political discussion.

“So much has happened this semester and in this election year, that students just seem to be more engaged,” said Anna Ardelean, and president of the USI College Democrats.

The USI College Democrats have is  preparing to host “Lit-Drops” with groups like the Vanderburgh Democratic Council, Indivisible Evansville and the Nasty Women of Vanderburgh County

A “Lit-Drop” is an alternative to canvassing, where instead of going door-to-door and speaking to people, you put a candidate’s literature into a bag and place it on or at someone’s door.

“I was at [a Lit-Drop] a couple weeks ago, up around Indianapolis,” the political science major said. “It’s a great way to reach out to voters, and still has that personal touch of like a volunteer came to your house, you know? But, you’re not making them uncomfortable. and phone calls are the worst. So it’s better than phone banking, in my opinion.”

The USI College Republicans have also been making plans to distribute literature on campus.

“We will also have some form of campaign materials like information graphics, or information pamphlets that say: Here is the candidate, these are some pros about the candidate. These are their policies they support,” said Trent Thompson, president of the USI College Republicans.

In addition to direct information distribution, this week offered the USI College Republicans an opportunity to host a screening of 2020’s first presidential debate. 

“Our watch party on Tuesday actually was a bit better than our one last year,” the junior marketing major said, “Because more people I believe actually focused on the debate and weren’t talking to each other and weren’t loud and disruptive. You could actually focus and hear what the candidates were both saying.”

Ardelean said she feels it is important to keep in mind people’s safety due to Covid-19 and maintaining CDC regulations is a priority when it comes to meetings and events.

“You have to keep in mind, okay, can you do this if people cannot stand next to each other? Can you do this if they can’t touch the same objects? We had a meeting where we were making political buttons to try to hand out to your friends and stuff. And that is so much touching materials, though. And how do you do that?” Ardelean said. “So we had to come with everything pre-cut and hand sanitizer everywhere and disinfectant spray and all different things and, you know, one at a time so you’re not all over each other hanging out over the thing.”

Ardelean said it’s hard to predict a lot of these issues and the organization has had to plan their meetings by figuring out what is feasible and how they are going to keep it safe for members.

Thompson said for his meetings, they have an additional zoom option for anyone who can’t attend meetings in person, or chooses not to.

“We get almost all of our paper materials or anything for any of our events— flyers, posters, stuff like that— from the USI, copy services, division or department,” Thompson said, “And we would pretty much take those directly from there and put those directly on the table. And there would be minimal contact with those.”

As Election Day and the voter registration deadline Oct. 5 creeps in, the USI College Democrats and USI College Republicans presidents are encouraging students to get educated and vote even if they don’t house the same political beliefs.

If you’re looking for more information on candidates, the USI College Democrats will be hosting a “Lit-Drop” on Oct. 10 and a spooky themed “Drop” on Halloween.

The USI College Democrats meet at 6 p.m. every Tuesday; and the USI College Republicans meet at 5:30 p.m. every Monday.