College students who go to school in many of New York’s most underserved urban areas (Rochester, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie, etc.) often do not have much interaction with the greater community and vice versa. Bursting this “student bubble” has been a priority for many schools and cities, but the answer is as simple as finding a way to unite students and the community around their shared values.
Coincidentally, college students do a lot of that just by being civically engaged. That is where College Democrats comes in. College Democrats has always been about lifting up New York’s communities along with its students, and we easily can start that process by encouraging our members to register to vote where they go to school. By voting where they go to school students feel like they have a vested interest in their local community and are more likely to involved and spend money locally.
Then there’s campaigning. By giving our members opportunities to campaign locally for Democratic candidates they believe in we give them a chance to: explore the local area, build relationships with local residents, and eat/drink/shop locally. There’s no better way to get to know your neighbors whether canvassing with them or canvassing at them. When you bond over a shared candidate or issue your forming a bond that’s hard to break.
And finally, club events. Our chapters regularly hold numerous events in the community where their members get to make a real impact and know that they are making a difference. These include: registering people in the community to vote, attending and participating in local government meetings, teaming up with local activists to campaign for local issues, joining local protests (Planned Parenthood, Citizen Action, ect.), and holding club meetings in the community.