by Junelly Gonzalez
Benedictine University College Democrats attended the annual College Democrats of Illinois Convention that took place from April 11 through 12 at DePaul University in Chicago.
This year was one of the largest conventions yet. There were significant number of young democrats in attendance, but also there were several elected officials.
The elected officials included State Senator Daniel Biss, State Senator Tom Cullerton, Congressman Bill Foster, Treasurer Mike Frerichs, State Senator Toi Hutchinson, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, State Senator Mike Noland, President Toni Preckwinkle, State Senator Kwame Raoul, Treasurer Kurt Summers, and Congressman Mike Quigley.
“All of the elected officials were inspiring and informed us of the regular obstacles they must overcome in everyday politics. They inspire us to become more aware and involved in our local governments, repeating that states really do matter,” said the Secretary of BU College Democrats Anna Scheidel.
In addition to featured democratic speakers, there were various breakout sessions that allowed students to gain knowledge over controversial issues of today as well as knowledge over the political process during campaigns.
Ranging from discussions over human trafficking and climate change to training sessions over building a campaign infrastructure and the basics of campaign fundraising, these breakout sessions were presented by organizations such as Equality Illinois, Generation Progress, Sierra Club Illinois, the office of Treasurer Mike Frerichs, KJD Strategies, Government Affairs at Opternative and Ready for Hillary PAC.
“My favorite breakout session was definitely the presentation by Rebecca Kaplan from Generation Progress. She talked to us about a campaign that President Obama and Vice President Biden is heavily involved in, called Its On Us. This campaign aims to raise awareness and knowledge about sexual assault,” said junior BU College Democrat Judith Cervantes.
“I find that to be such a huge, relevant college students are increasingly facing. I am happy I was able to learn how to get more involved and learned that in order to fix the problem there has to be a culture change. Sure that is not easy to do, but every action, no matter how big or small it is, is important.”
College Democrats in attendance also had the opportunity to network with other college students involved with local, state and federal government and politics during a reception that was hosted at John Barleycorn restaurant in Wrigley Ville and during the Business meeting, which allowed the students to gather together and discuss future plans for the organization and amendments to its Constitution.
“I felt like this weekend really connected all the different chapters of College Democrats throughout Illinois. Not only that but I also made a lot of great friends and learned about the different factors that go into the political process,” said freshman BU College Democrat Stephanie Saghafi.