Student Organization Spotlight: The Political Science Club
With the presidential election fast approaching, Hampton University students and faculty are doing everything in their power to see that everyone on campus is registered to vote. The Political Science (“Poli-Sci”) Club is preparing to go a step further.
“We see a need for absentee ballots. We’re really going to push the absentee applications and getting them sent off in time,” said sophomore Dwayne Kwaysee Wright, second vice president of the Poli-Sci Club.
Amina Bakari, first vice president, agrees that the club should focus on promoting absentee ballot awareness. “Voter registration is being done. We need to focus on absentee ballots, and make sure people understand the process and know where to get them,” she said.
The mission of the Poli-Sci Club is to support the political atmosphere on campus, and the club is open to all majors. Currently, the majority of the members are political science or pre-law majors, but there are also members majoring in everything from English and biology to business and electrical engineering.
Bakari, a political science major with a minor in economics, has been a member for three years. According to club president, junior Brandon Hatton-Brown, Bakari was a key player in making the club what it is today. “Amina and I tried to mold and build a quality group that all of its members enjoy being a part of,” he said.
With this goal in mind, the Poli-Sci Club began building a reputation for itself last year. The club joined with the Student Government Association and the Young Democrats for the most successful voter registration drive in HU’s history.
Getting people involved in the election process has been a top priority for the group, and they have big plans for the time remaining before the 2008 election.
“We want to use the Cyber Lounge for people to sign up for their absentee ballots online, and we want to have paper ballots available for the major states [represented on campus],” said Wright. “We also want to use the Student Center theater to broadcast the debates.”
Members of the Poli-Sci Club have expressed a desire to travel to Washington, D.C. for the presidential inauguration in January, and the group leaders are planning a raffle, among other activities, to raise funds.
The group officials meet every Sunday to plan the weekly meeting. The sessions cater to political science and other majors interested in pursuing law school. “The club supplements poli-sci majors with more than they get in class, and helps them advance their careers,” Bakari said.
The meetings open with a review of a different law school each week. “I suggested the idea last year,” said Hatton-Brown. “It gives the interested members a chance to learn about new schools and discover what they are looking for in a law school.”
In September 24th’s meeting, Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., was profiled. As in every meeting, the college profile was followed by a question similar to those on the LSAT exam. Bakari wrote a scenario on the board and led the group in finding the solutions.
After the question is solved, the group moves on to discussion. “The discussions are usually fueled by current events,” said Bakari.
The group tends to have liberal democratic views, so sometimes they have similar opinions. However, Wright doesn’t mind playing “devil’s advocate” to present a different view and encourage healthy debate.
The Poli-Sci Club currently consists of about 20 members. The other officials are Treasurer Marcelle Rae, Secretary Rana Constant, Parliamentarian Ian Hall and Representative to the Board Jada Manggrum who were elected last April. Officials agree that they would like to see the club broaden its scope on campus.
“I’d like for it to be better known for getting political information out there, and not just for poli-sci majors,” said Bakari.
Though they are focused on the long-term goal of becoming more well-known and recruiting members, the club’s agenda is currently dominated by the upcoming election.
Hatton-Brown said, “I just want to make sure everybody realizes the strides that are being made by black people politically.”
The Poli-Sci Club meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday in the Martin Luther King building in room 115.