College Republicans support campaigns

By Colleen Kochensparger

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As the upcoming presidential election approaches, the UK College Republicans are working nonstop to aid the campaign for Romney and attempting to dominate the Kentucky House of Representatives with Republican seats—but these students work tirelessly year-round, attempting to get students more involved with the political process as a whole, and creating a safe and welcoming environment for students sporting conservative viewpoints all across the campus.

“College Republicans is an organization that is based solely around conservative values,” said T.J. Morrison, a senior and a public service and leadership major. “It gives students on the University of Kentucky campus an outlet” to voice their views without being shunned or dismissed.

“There’s not a ton of people that would admit to lining up with our view,” Morrison said, but the College Republicans are there to support those that do.

“The College Republicans (allow us to) spend time together with people who have the same ideals,” said Emily Myers, a senior majoring in psychology.

“Our main goal as an organization is to spread our conservative ideals and conservative views to the younger generation” and get the younger student population more involved in the whole political process, said political science and psychology major Kelsey Slone, also a senior.

The College Republicans spend hours upon hours of their time volunteering for various local and national campaigns, and try to make this community service into a social atmosphere, such as making signs for candidates to distribute while enjoying a pizza party.

“We have weekly call nights where we’ll make calls for the different campaigns,” Myers said. “We’ll also go door to door.”

The nights of making phone call after phone call aren’t always the most fun thing in the world, admitted Morrison. But they attempt to liven it up, gathering three or more people in one of the Victory Offices, a makeshift headquarters, to make phone calls together and share stories.

“We try to make it fun — we’ll do Caller Bingo,” Morrison said, where, during their hundreds of weekly phone calls, they’ll note when they get yelled at, call someone who’s in the shower, phone someone with a solely democratic agenda, or, as has happened more than once, yell “John F. Kennedy!” into the phone. “It makes the night go faster if we have funny stories.”

But as fun as the atmosphere the College Republicans create around their work is, they are still helping as much as they can and however they can — whether that’s tabling to make their presence known at events such as Rock the Vote, Campus Ruckus, or the Student Involvement Fair, or volunteering for different organizations to help Republican campaigns by serving as welcoming committees and valets at various political events.

“A few weeks ago I spoke at Constitution Day,” Morrison said, detailing the event in which sixth graders from Christ the King were invited to learn about the importance of the Constitution.

“We try to keep it as nonpartisan as possible, as they’re so young, but we explain how important it is to understand the Constitution and get involved.”

Morrison made sure to inform the sixth graders that Alexander Hamilton was only 26 when he signed the Declaration of Independence, and to impart the message that what the younger generation does or does not do at this current age of politics will have ramifications for the next four to eight years.

Getting students across campus involved is an overarching goal of this organization, and one shared by their “rivals,” the College Democrats.

“I think it’s great that they believe in something versus nothing,” said Myers of the College Democrats.

“It’s a good rivalry, both sides are very passionate,” and they know when there is a time and place for debating — inside the classroom may not be the best place for such discussions, but the two organizations come together for events such as the debate at Jewell Hall.

“There is a mutual respect between the organizations,” Slone said. “Because in the end, what we’re promoting is for young people to get more involved, no matter what they believe in.”

The College Republicans have been working on several major goals throughout recent months: getting more students involved with the College Republicans, informing the public about local Republican candidates, and helping in the attempt to have “12 in 12,” or 12 Republican seats in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2012.

They are also working on the general student voter public and attempting to persuade people to vote in the upcoming election, helping to register those who are as yet not a part of the political process.

“Young people are fed up,” Morrison said, and therefore, more than ever, they need to get involved in the political process and vote.

“People are sick and tired of these broken promises that never came true, that were falsely claimed.”

“We will persuade people to vote,” Slone said, describing the organization’s plans for Election Day.

“Not one way or the other, just to vote. … We will make a big presence to go out and vote … as a group,” she said.

And at the end of the day, “we will have a Victory Party, no matter who won.”