Politics Club seeks new members


The Politics Club, founded last semester by Ben Simone and John Dabrowski, is finally open and accepting new members to fill their ranks.

“We’re really passionate about local and national, and international politics” said Simone, “and we really wanted to spread that interest, and hopefully get more students interested.”

One of the primary focuses of this club is to expand ones political knowledge, for all aspects of life that it might affect. “The more you know, the better informed you are, and the more likely you are to make an informed decision” said Simone.

The idea for the club was conceptualized and enacted last semester, when Simone created academic clubs in his term as president of the SGA.

Taking and keeping politics close to the heart and mind, the club has defined roles and governing laws for operation. The president’s role is to “facilitate the meeting, and propose ideas for group discussion, as well as keep track of the website and update it as needed,” according to the clubs constitution, which lays down in brief the other positions, election rules and the code of conduct.
Other positions include vice president, as well as the treasurer, and secretary. The positions are determined by vote, styled after the Australian ballot, which is also known by a more common name, the secret ballot. The club strives to be by nature, a pure democracy.

The club does not tolerate sexism, bigotry, or racism in any form. And as a club that operates mainly on independent research leading into group discussion, plagiarism is likewise not tolerated. It is a college club that holds itself up to college standards, insofar as cheating and treatment of others are concerned.

One of the important facets of this club is the group-led discussions. Regardless of political leanings or partisanship, all political topics are considered and are fair game to discuss. “Politics should be fun, and that’s one of the things we wanted to implement” said Simone.

Through the week of Sept. 14-18, the school hosted Politics Week, drawing in guest speakers from around the state, as well as SGA and student led activities.

On Monday, the school welcomed Allen Gilbert, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. “He spoke to us about different civil liberties issues that Vermont [faces], such as what to do when a cop pulls you over. What are your rights and responsibilities?” said Simone.

Tuesday saw the arrival of gubernatorial candidate Shap Smith on campus, to talk about his plans for office, as well as giving a Q&A.
The Vermont Cannabis Collaborative arrived on Wednesday to talk about what legalizing marijuana could mean for the state. “There are many facets and issues… to legalizing marijuana in Vermont,” said Simone. “ For example, how do you enforce it? How much tax will it bring in? … They’re going to come in and explain”
Politics Week conclude with the SGA registering people to vote. “We had a great turn out for that last year as well” said Simone. Friday will be a celebration of Constitution Day, and will be showing the HBO miniseries, John Adams.

Simone hopes that this club will “stimulate people’s interest in politics more, especially with the upcoming election, both [the] governor’s race and the… presidential race.”

The overarching goal is to generate interest, so that there is a more engaged public. “Everything around you is a political decision at some level,” said Simone. “ I really think that by being engaged, you’re really finding out more about how the world works, and how our system of governance affects you. And that’s why I do think [the club] should be important.”

Membership numbers for the club are fluctuating at the moment, but to open a club on campus, there needs to be at least 5 members. “Right now it’s a little bit disrupted because of Politics Week going on… after that’s done we’re going to focus more on what we want to be as a club, and what our continuing values are,” said Simone.

In the end, the goal of this club is to expand the minds of the people of JSC about just what politics are. A more politically engaged population is far more likely to participate in elections and such things, than one that is not.