As the fall semester reaches its home stretch, one organization is gaining momentum in its restoration.
The University of New Mexico College Democrats have reestablished themselves after a hiatus, which arose from remaining neutral in the wake of the presidential primaries in 2016. UNM College Democrats have regained their voice after almost a year and a half.
This organization has returned to the UNM campus with biweekly meetings and the goal of gaining momentum and giving students a platform to speak about their political beliefs.
One member who has played a key role in reinstating the group is Jackie Luchini, a fifth year political science major who spent the spring semester as an intern in Washington D.C. through the Fred Harris program.
When she returned to New Mexico, she was inspired to reawaken the club’s cause to give college students the chance to share their Democratic political beliefs.
“I noticed that everyone had a lot of energy and excitement around being involved in politics just because of the political climate now,” Luchini said. “That’s why I wanted to restart Campus Democrats.”
The state of American politics has caused a lot of Democrats on campus to become very politically aware and active, she said.
“Our first meeting we expected maybe 15 or 20 people,” Luchini said. “The meeting ended up hosting forty attendees.”
“There’s a new energy that College Democrats (have),” she said, expanding on the optimism that this organization has gained in its revival.
The reason for restarting the group is to aid students who are interested in making a difference in society to take action, she said.
“People feel very strongly about the political environment right now,” Luchini said. “I want it to be an outlet for them to mobilize and act on it.”
College Democrats hopes to interact and collaborate with other groups on campus and within the community.
“Dialogue between both sides will better not only the University, but try to bring us together as a community,” Luchini said. “Communication is key.”
The first two meetings since the student organization reestablished were focused on reorganizing the members and setting concrete goals for the group.
Elections for the executive board were held Wednesday, and members participated in phone banking for Democrat Tim Keller’s candidacy in the Albuquerque mayoral race.
“Helping to get Tim Keller elected is our biggest priority as of right now,” Luchini said. “After this election within the organization, we should have a governing body that can help to lead College Democrats in a way that we want it to.”
Since the group is just getting restarted, it is still in the process of figuring out its main focuses going forward, Luchini said.
“As of now I cannot speak specifically for the direction,” Luchini said. “Right now it’s a matter of keeping people interested.”
College Democrats hopes to grow in a way that benefits its members and the Albuquerque community.
“I want committees to come out of UNM College Democrats, I want student leaders to be able to chair their own committee,” Luchini said. “Whether there’s an issue on or off campus that students feel is not being recognized in its entirety, I’d like to give them the platform to shed light on it.”
Although attendance for their first two meetings was better than expected, Luchini said the group needs to recruit more dedicated members if it’s going to achieve its goals.
“With the current unrest federally and locally, we can see that elections have consequences,” Luchini said. “If you want to see change, then you have to get involved, and College Democrats is a way to do that.”
Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @r_brusseau.