TCU students encourage political activism

In the midst of election season, students like Michael Millican have worked to foster a more politically active environment at TCU.

Millican, a junior political science major, said he founded the TCU chapter of Youth for Ron Paul in December 2011 to encourage students to vote for the congressman in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination.

Since December, Millican’s organization has made phone calls prior to state primary elections and has informed the public why Paul should be president, he said. Millican said he supported Paul because he stood out among the potential candidates.

“He’s the only one telling the truth,” Millican said. “He’s the only one promising real change.”
Millican said he felt TCU is not a politically active or aware campus and needed to start getting more involved. Students should care about politics because it affects everyone, he said.

Jack Enright, a junior political science and economics double major, said he founded the TCU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) last semester so students could be active and get involved in politics. The non-partisan group’s main goal is to get students involved in the political process, he said.

“I wanted to start the club so people could be active, get active and learn more about the issues that we’re going through, especially in times like these with Occupy, and the 2012 election and the recession,” Enright said.

The lowest turnout group in every election has been in the 18-25 demographic, Jim Riddlesperger, professor of political science, said. Because TCU students do not necessarily live at home and do not have careers, they are less likely to vote with less of a stake in the system, he said.

However, Riddlesperger said students should pay attention to the presidential election because the turnout of the election, or any election, would determine the quality of their public services, common concerns and lives.

YAL has strived to encourage student political awareness because understanding the issues is important, Enright said. He said TCU’s lack of foundation in its political strongholds on campus could be the cause of its “political apathy.”

As the 2012 presidential election approaches, Youth for Ron Paul planned to continue to encourage fellow students and others to vote for Ron Paul, Millican said.

Enright said many political organizations’ activity fluctuates based on election years.

“They’ll be there right before an election, but as soon as the election ends, they’ll die out,” he said.

Enright said because TCU lacked the political activism other universities encourage, the few politically active groups on campus have focused on recruiting students.

Riddlesperger said some candidates tend to attract more students than others. In the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama was more in tune with how younger people communicate, he said.

“He uses text messages, and he tweets, and he Facebooks, and he uses social media, and John McCain doesn’t even use email,” he said.

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