A new club has emerged with a plan to raise awareness about politics among students on campus.
The Contra Costa College Republicans Club is the first politically associated club on campus aimed to make a change in the youth. The club is scheduled to meet on Mondays in LA-202 from 2:10-3 p.m.
President of the CCC Republicans, student Nora Rodriguez, wants to create an environment within the club where anybody — not just Republicans — can join and take comfort in expressing their political beliefs.
“Everyone is welcomed: socialists, democrats, liberals and anyone else who wants to join,” Rodriguez said.
The club will serve as a base to assess political ideologies where students can share their views and inputs on different issues. She said that Republicans are typically portrayed as always holding conservative stances on hot button economic and social issues, but this club aims to provide a different, less generalized angle on political association.
“This is a liberal campus and I don’t know how welcome the club will be,” she said. “However, I hope the few conservatives on campus find this club and feel happy that someone feels how they feel in terms of political view.”
Club Vice President Luis Zamora said he wants to encourage students to come out of their comfort zones and to find out where they stand politically by contrasting their ideologies with others. He wants to apply real world situations and embrace patience in hearing out others’ political opinions.
“My love for politics keeps me going,” he said. Zamora said that once he figured out what political party he “felt closer to,” he was only waiting for an opportunity like the club to jump in.
Rodriguez wants to keep an open mind regarding the outcome of the club because politics is a delicate topic for many. The club will be more than politics, it will also be fun, she said.
“Everyone has a voice and everyone has an opinion,” she said.
But everyone is not putting in the same effort to register to vote as they do to complain about election results. Rodriguez said she wants to change that stigma by encouraging students to participate in elections.
Rodriguez said that the idea of starting the club first came to her during her political science class last semester when her professor portrayed Republicans as “racist, power-hungry, money-seeking individuals.” It shifted her view and she wanted to do something about it, she said.
“I see the Republican Party as dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity,” she said. The bigger issues are their beliefs, but younger Republicans tend to be more open to discussion and maybe shifting their views, she said.
With a general election less than a month away, Zamora said he plans on educating club members on the issues at hand, as well as Republican views.
Even though the club is open to everyone, the executive board must be registered Republicans, Rodriguez said.
The club’s adviser, college Vice President Tammeil Gilkerson, said that she believes students should be connected and, although she is not a republican, she supports the club and its mission.
The remainder of the semester brings various opportunities for networking and building community among members of different political views. Also, Rodriguez has plans for the club to attend a California Republican Party convention held in Sacramento this coming February.
During the conventions, Republican organizations and prominent Republican leaders gather for discussion and special guests deliver speeches. It also serves as a form of networking for club members, Rodriguez said.