COPA club seeks to enlighten

Political group works to inform students on issues


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Club member Ricky Cusguen adjusts a Community Organizing and Political Action Club (COPA) sign outside Fireside Hall during a COPA event on Monday.

By Andrew Weedon, Advocate staff

A campus club is helping students express their political beliefs, understand hot political topics and gain experience taking political action.

The Community Organizing and Political Action (COPA) club has two events planned so far this semester with dates not determined. The first is a screening of the film “13th,” directed by Ava DuVernay alongside food, trivia and a discussion.

The second event is a panel scheduled tentatively for November consisting of local and state officials. This event will help students and community members better understand issues affecting them at the state and local level.

Adviser Vanna Gonzalez said that she wanted the club to be “political but not partisan,” like a Democrat or Republican club would be. At the time the club was created two years ago, the political science department was almost non-existent. Since then, the department has grown in a large way, Gonzalez said.

For many of the students who are part of this club, they originally joined because they aspired to make changes to their communities. President Rebecca Hernandez said she originally joined to become more involved with her community.

The club is also designed to help those who wish to pursue careers in politics to gain the connections and confidence to do so. Alex Walker-Griffin, former president and current member of the California Community College Governing Board, said, “It helps build community by being a bridge to other parties and political ideologies.”

The club achieves this by organizing events related to politics. From public film screenings, to raffles and trivia, COPA club wants to inform the student body and public in any way they can. During the 2016 election, COPA set up tables to help eligible students register to vote. COPA also held Q&A events with local city and state officials.

Since the club enjoys a large variety of ideologies, differing political views have caused tensions for the club in the past. However, they are now focused on political awareness in regards to local issues, Gonzalez said.

Former COPA treasurer, Tiana Mckneely said she was tired of not helping. “I’m fed up with feeling like I’m not contributing and only looking at problems through my phone,” Mckneely said.

Gonzalez said that the club is more work than many students expect. With a full schedule of activities to help organize, students have been known to be overwhelmed.

She said despite this, many students have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge from the club.