SDSU College Democrats encourage students to vote in November election

by Will Fritz, Senior Staff Writer

The College Democrats of San Diego State is an association of Democratic students affiliated with the national College Democrats of America.

College Democrats President Divya Sriharan and Vice President Maddie Ryan, said the College Democrats have a lot of opportunities to offer students.

“We have a lot of people that come in and talk, like local congressmen,” Ryan said.

The club encourages anyone interested in public involvement or  public affairs to join because there are a lot of opportunities to learn about politics and on a local and national level, Sriharan said.

“There’s a lot of ways to get involved (and) get jobs in politics, and not even just politics but also in the community,” Sriharan said.

Ryan said low voter turnout among young people motivates her to be active in College Democrats and in spreading awareness about political issues.

“Honestly, I think Bernie could have won because of us, but I don’t think anyone actually voted. And then people get really upset and are wondering ‘why did Bernie not win?’ … it’s because they didn’t vote,” Ryan said “Obviously if we had all the people who were tweeting about it, then he would’ve won.”

Sriharan said she thinks it is the lack of knowledge that causes low voter turnout for the younger generation.

“It’s not necessarily their fault,we don’t learn about the political system enough, so people don’t really know how it works and when they don’t know how it works, they’re not engaged,” Sriharan said.

Sriharan said that recreational marijuana legalization, an issue important to some college students, is on the California ballot this year as Proposition 64.

“There’s all kinds of stuff, and those are things that could change very easily if we get our voices out and if we actually vote,” Sriharan said.

Another issue for Sriharan and Ryan is the cost of higher education.

“Everyone knows college is insanely expensive and they know there are a lot of things we wish we could change,” Sriharan said.

Political science senior, Christopher Vallejo, who attended the College Democrats’ meeting on Sept. 7, said he was at the meeting because he believes higher education should be more financially accessible.

Struggling to pay for school shouldn’t be an issue students have to face he said.

“More money should be spent on higher education instead of the military,”Vallejo said. “ Some of my friends have dropped out (because they can’t afford college), and some couldn’t even afford it in the beginning. Some have gotten stuck in community college for three or four years,” he said.

Another meeting attendee, junior English major Will Wilson said what he enjoys most about the College Democrats is the conversations he can have with other club members.

“I like that I’m learning more about political issues and that I’m able to discuss my opinions with people who share my political views,” Wilson said.

Sriharan said anyone can join the club or go to the meetings even if they are not involved in local politics.

“The point of our club isn’t to make people want to go into politics or be political science majors or anything,” Sriharan said.

“It’s to make people care about civics and the issues that are going to affect them.”

The College Democrats hold bi-weekly meetings on Fridays at 4 p.m. in the Aztlan Metzli suite of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.