Political interest groups on campus
What kind of regulations does UF have in place?
By: Ashley Summerfield
In recent weeks, there has been an extra push for millennial involvement in the upcoming election. Many campaigns and interest groups have flocked to college campuses across the country in order to grow their numbers before November. UF’s campus is just one of many universities that has experienced this movement.
The University of Findlay has an extensive process to start a club or student interest group on campus. The Office of Student Activities on campus has a 4-step process in order to have what they call a “recognized” student organization. As a student interest group, you are able to reserve rooms on campus, advertise, recruit members, participate in the annual Student Organization Fair, and apply for funding through SGA. If your organization does not go through the proper step to become approved, you are not able to do any of the above.
UF currently has politically involved clubs including the College Democrats, College Republicans, and the Political Science Club. Outside of these organizations, there are not any approved political organizations. According to the Office of Student Activities, “a recognized student organization must complete phase one ‘Interest Group Registration/Petition’ (IGR/P) form” before being considered for approval.
One interest group in particular has made an appearance on campus. NextGen Climate, an interest group focusing on the issue of climate change, is reaching out to millennials on college campuses. A representative from the organization toured campus in recent weeks asking students to sign up to volunteer for the organization.
He also expressed hopes of starting a club on campus.
The University of Findlay is a private institution, so outside organizations are technically not aloud to canvas on campus. NextGen Climate is on the ground in over 200 college campuses, and representatives were hoping to add UF to this list.
The representative most likely did not know he was in the wrong because public institutions do not have the same regulations that we do at private universities, like UF. Due to the process that students go through to create a student organization, it is not as simple as coming on campus and creating a club in a day.
Students will begin to see interest groups, similar to NextGen Climate, popping up on universities around the country in the next months leading up to the November election. Millennials will continue to be a number one target in the final stretch to the election. According to surveys conducted in past elections, young people have the power to change the outcome of an election if they get out and vote.