Politics on Campus

ELEPHANT AND DONKEY OWLS MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD ON CAMPUS

Temple’s student body and faculty represent 150 countries and all 50 states, so it comes as no surprise that campus embodies many varying political ideologies. With the 2016 election drawing closer, supporters from all sides of the political spectrum make their voices heard on campus.

The Temple University College Republicans and Temple College Democrats are both active groups on campus.

Travis Unger is the chairman of Temple University College Republicans (TUCRs), one of the most active Republican groups in Philadelphia. He schedules events, leads meetings and makes deals with local Republican supporters.

“We’re the most active volunteers in Philadelphia for Republicans,” Unger said. “We knock on the most doors and make the most phone calls. We’re always invited to events so they look well attended.”

TUCRs Executive Director Austin Severns is excited about the upcoming presidential election in November 2016.

“I think the upcoming election is extremely interesting. There is an unbelievable amount of candidates. Some say it means the party is divided and some say it’s a good thing,” Severns said. “Democrats have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who [are]
exact opposites.”

Both Unger and Severns agree Marco Rubio is the most appealing candidate, though their personal views do not reflect TUCRs as a whole.

“He really understands our generation and our student debts. He’s a good candidate for millennials to vote for,” Unger said.

On the other side of the spectrum, Temple College Democrats (TCD) hold varying views for their counterparts.

TCD President Damien Bower was initially a Republican, but switched sides because of economic policy.

“There was a lot I started to think about differently over time, including certain governmental approaches to issues I felt were more important than a gigantic economic growth rate,” Bowen said. “I think the Republican Party isn’t really progressing.”

As president of the organization, Bower connects people with internships in campaigns around the city and finds speakers to talk to the group.

Bower is interested in a career in state politics.

“I’m really impressed with what Temple does. I know it’s hard to be a Republican here, but they do good work and they’re always out doing something,” Bower said. “Temple is very open to activism, and there’s a lot of activism on campus. I’m really happy with the different types of voices that are here.”

TCD Events Coordinator Sandra Vogel became involved in political science so she could learn how the system works.

“We, as Temple College Democrats, hugely encourage voter registration here in Philly,” said Vogel, who often participates in political events around campus.

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She also believes that neither party is certain who will run in the 2016 election.

“I think both parties are experiencing issues. With the Republicans, so many people are running and no one has the clear support of the party,” Vogel said. “With the Democrats, Hillary Clinton seemed to be the party favorite, but now there’s growing support for
Bernie Sanders.”

Politics play a huge role on Temple’s campus. Both parties on campus agree that the upcoming presidential election will bring a lot of turmoil. Still, both organizations are determined to help influence the outcome.

While both parties make their voices heard on campus, whether you’re an elephant or donkey, everyone at Temple is united by being an owl.

written by jon gilbert
photographed by sarah whitehead

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