The Elephant in the Room: DU College Republicans

Note: This profile is part of a political themed series and does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Her Campus DU. 

Although the University of Denver is known for being a liberal campus, the DU College Republicans club serves as a meeting place for those sporting Regan '84 stickers on their laptops. Her Campus DU met with the president of DUCR to find out more about the club as well as her own political activism. 

President Leah DiCiesare

Name: Leah DiCiesare

Majors: International Studies and History

Year in School: Junior

Role: President 

 

What is DU Republicans?

DU College Republicans (DUCR) is a political club on campus that gives Republicans and other conservatives a place to meet and discuss politics.

 

What does DU Republicans do?

We meet on Thursday evenings and discuss current events, policies, and issues that are important in the world and to us; these issues may be happening on campus, in Denver, at the federal level, or internationally.

 

What events do you host?

Our events differ depending on what’s going on in the political realm, but we often host watch parties for debates, elections, State of the Union or Inaugural speeches; we have had local candidates come talk to us about their platform; and have had other politicians or commentators talk with us about certain issues. We are also working on hosting a joint event with the DU Dems on May 1st this quarter.

 

Why did you join?

I joined DUCR when I first came to DU in August 2017 (I’m a transfer student). For a long time, I wasn’t very political, but I knew that I had strong opinions that I couldn’t keep bottled up anymore. After the 2016 election and the reactions that followed it, I felt that it was even more important to take stand and make sure that my opinion was heard.

 

Why is it important to have political organizations on campus?

We all care about politics at some level (or at least I hope we do), but too many of us only participate when it comes time to vote. There are so many more ways to get involved, and a campus organization is one of those. Though we don’t do a lot more than talk about different issues within the club, being a part of it opens doors that I previously didn’t even know existed. People come to us to ask us to volunteer, to apply for internships, and to be a part of a much bigger community.

Student political organizations also give students a place where they can speak their mind and not fear any backlash from their peers. They can be reminded that they are not alone in their convictions. Politics are always important. What goes on at the local, state, federal, and international levels can affect us all. Knowing what your opinion is is great, but sharing it, and hearing others’, is even more important. Without political organizations, students can get stuck in their own opinions and never take the time to truly hear someone else’s without the control of classroom.

 

What has been your favorite part?

My favorite part has been learning about policies and how vastly different opinions on the Republican side of things are. While most of us in the club are registered Republicans, we don’t agree on most issues. Whether we have nuanced differences in our opinions or major ones, we are all able to share them and learn more about these topics from our peers.

 

How has being a part of this organization affected your collegiate experience?

During my first few quarters at DU, I was pretty reluctant to share my opinion in its fullest, especially in politically-charged classes. Being a part of this club, and being a part of its leadership, has reminded me that my opinion is valid and should be heard. I should have no qualms about sharing my political opinion in class, in public, or on the internet. In my opinion, on liberal campuses such as DU, it’s even more important to speak up when your views don’t reflect the majority’s.

How do you approach conversations with those along other party lines?

This often depends on the setting. In class settings, my teachers have often tried to stimulate debate, and in these situations, I’ll be a lot more argumentative than I would otherwise. If I’m talking with friends, I try to listen to their opinion to attempt to understand it, and I also take my time to explain my opinion and why I hold that opinion. I believe that it’s important for us young people to get used to talking to each other about difficult topics in a civilized manner, because political discourse seems to have digressed in recent years.

 

Are you looking forward to the 2020 election? Why or why not?

No. If the last presidential election and years since, give any indication about how campaigns, debates, and public opinion are going to be, I want to be far away from the election. I want candidates, on both sides, to talk policy. I am so sick of listening to our leaders call each other all kinds of awful things. If they could forget about each other for 10 minutes and just talk about what they want to do in office, that’d be great. We are in a precarious place politically, and right now, it feels like the 2020 election could be our breaking point.

 

How can people get involved?

If students want to get involved with us they can come to our meetings on Thursdays at 6:30pm in Margery Reed Hall. Our next meeting is this Thursday April 11th! You can also email us at [email protected].

 

Thanks for speaking with us!

 

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