How to push past GW’s ‘politically active students’ ranking

Media Credit: File Photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo Editor

Student protesters, who object to U.S. and French involvement in Syria, confront French President Emmanuel Macron outside of the Smith Center in April.

GW may have been knocked off The Princeton Review’s list of the most politically active colleges, but that won’t stop students from speaking out.

The University fell from the list earlier this month after sticking in the top 10 for more than a decade. Even with what could seem like a slow descent into political inactivity, students in the District still have a bevy of ways to get involved in politics.

In the past year, GW has hosted more than a few political pundits and others who regularly interact with the city’s political inner circle. Last semester, CNN anchor Jake Tapper came to campus to discuss his latest novel “The Hellfire Club” with a packed Jack Morton Auditorium and former FBI Director James Comey came to campus and dodged questions about the Trump-Russia probe in front of students.

During his trip to the United States in April, French President Emmanuel Macron visited campus and fielded questions from students in the Smith Center. Before he arrived, he ate a burger at Tonic Restaurant and was met with more than 20 students protesting his visit because of his role in recent airstrikes in Syria.

But that’s no surprise – protests regularly occur on campus. Most recently, “Unite the Rally 2” participants, surrounded by counterprotesters condemning the white nationalist rally, walked past residence halls on F Street en route to Lafayette Square earlier this month.

And in December, five students were arrested inside a Senate office building while protesting President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

This is just a quick rundown of the political activities students have engaged in over the past year, and this semester there is more to come. With midterm elections in November, political student organizations are gearing up to stand up and speak out.

Some student organizations stretch party wide, but more issue-based groups have also popped up in recent years, including Students for Justice in Palestine, Young Democratic Socialists of America, and Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights. If you fall neatly into party lines, GW College Republicans and GW College Democrats host guest speakers and mobilize around issues throughout the year.

Student organizations will often make rounds during campaign seasons canvassing different states to secure votes for their respective candidates. Last year, both College Democrats and College Republicans got out the vote in Virginia on opposite sides of a hotly contested race for governor.

GW College Democrats is the largest and most active chapter in the nation, according to its website. College Democrats will host a voter registration event at Kogan Plaza Monday and help students register again Sept. 25 for Voter Registration Day. Membership dues cost a one-time fee of $25, which gives you access to body meetings, field trips and a free t-shirt.

GW College Republicans has a slew of info mixers throughout syllabus week for those looking to join its student base, which is the largest conservative student organization in the District. Freshmen can join the student organization’s mixer at Marvin Center Sept. 5, or attend an event that hosts a conversation with conservative leader Lee Edwards and Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the National Review, on Sept. 19.


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