A chapter of the national organization Young Democrats of America (YDA) will begin operation this year on Whitworth University’s campus, led by Bailey Wilmeth, a junior studying political science.
The project was initiated by Whitworth alumnus Caleb McDougall, who is now sitting on the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Spokane Transit Authority. While volunteering for Bob Ferguson’s campaign, McDougall was approached about starting a chapter of the YDA at Whitworth. He then reached out to Wilmeth and got the ball rolling.
A main source of motivation to start this club was the lack of democratic representation on campus. In light of the controversy around Turning Point USA’s speaker last year and other adjacent occurrences, “There’s a need to have a space for every party,” said Wilmeth.
The goal is to create an open forum for those who are more progressive in an atmosphere that is not always so. Both Wilmeth and McDougall feel that the Whitworth campus is not always the most open to progressive ideas and this club will create a space for those ideas to be explored uninhibited by social pressure. In addition to this, McDougall mentioned that the point of the club is to encourage a civic dialogue that is a feature of democratic government. “Part of the civic process is discussing things people don’t always see eye to eye [on], but doing it in a safe manner — in a friendly manner,” said McDougall.
Other goals of the club are to promote the interests of the democratic party, to encourage political engagement and to cultivate future leadership. The club will work to inform people of the various channels of political engagement, through voting, lobbying and much more.
The club will also provide information on democratic candidates and stances. This will help the club support and advance candidates who themselves are Young Democrats, a particular aim of the organization. The club will also connect members with officials for jobs, internships and general political experience. This is both a way to encourage participation in politics and a way to help Whitworth students cultivate the next generation of leaders.
Currently, Wilmeth is working with other students to get the club up and running. “[My] hope is that […] people from every major will want to be a part of this club and take whatever they learn into their major,” said Wilmeth.
For more information, please contact Bailey Wilmeth at email@example.com.