Last Thursday’s Massachusetts primary gave students at Boston College an opportunity to participate in the political process. While the primary had a very low turnout, less than 9 percent, it brought out commendable civic engagement in campus groups such as the College Democrats of Boston College (CDBC). Most of the primary races were uncontested, but they mark the beginning of general election campaigns that offer students the opportunity to further volunteer. CDBC worked extensively with Rep. Joe Kennedy’s campaign, including lawn sign distribution, publicity events, and other forms of promotion. It has been working with the Kennedy campaign since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. It has maintained consistent support for Kennedy and have gotten a number of BC students involved in the political process. This kind of work engages students in a direct and necessary way while also helping to set a precedent for what a college political group at BC can do.
In an interview with The Heights, the Republican candidate running against Kennedy, David Rosa, also mentioned the kind of political involvement students can engage in, such as phone calls, social media, or door-to-door campaigning. For students who support a candidate, pursuing opportunities such as these is a way to better understand the ground-level work of a political campaign and attempt to work for something he or she believes in. Groups such as the College Democrats offer great opportunities to join these efforts alongside other students. The College Republicans of Boston College also offer similar opportunities, although it has been less involved in this particular congressional race. Rosa did not reference any BC student activity in his campaign and the CRBC Facebook group has not posted any events regarding his candidacy.
In a time of significant political polarization, making decisions about candidates to support should go beyond party affiliation. Working for candidates who set forth policies you support and promote values you agree with is the ideal way for a student to be involved in politics. While these student groups are clearly party-affiliated, students in them should continue to examine candidates of both parties and figure out who most deserves support. This kind of civic engagement benefits the political system as a whole and prepares college students for future political involvement in many forms.
Featured Image by M. Spencer Green / AP Photo