RM sees groundswell of student political involvement
November 20, 2018
Over the past few years, there has been a major increase in students’ involvement and activism on political issues. Students have become more aware of all the issues that affect them and are starting to speak up.
Much of this student involvement stems from the presidential election of 2016, after which many students, especially in Maryland and at RM, wished to make their voices heard. Junior Isabelle Young co-founded the Super Political Activism Club (Super PAC) at RM after the 2016 election.
“We were partially motivated by our profound anger at the election results, and we realized that many students felt that their voice hadn’t been heard,” Young said. “I’d always rather make my anger productive, and so Super PAC was born to teach students how to advocate for the issues and candidates they care about.”
According to the Washington Post, disapproval of President Trump and a desire for Democrats to control Congress have pushed many Americans under the age of 30 are being pushed to go vote. According to US News and World Report, 31 percent of voters aged 18-29 voted in the midterms, 10 percentage points higher than in 2014. This desire to make a difference has continued through this year, including the Congressional midterms and the gubernatorial race in Maryland.
In light of the November midterms, this student activism has also been more evident. “I’m personally planning to canvass with a campaign I’m working on to help with a final get-out-the-vote push!” Young said. She’s not alone; many others are doing similar things to help get their message out. Junior and co-founder of Super PAC Lydia Levy said, “Even though we’re high schoolers and most of us can’t vote, it doesn’t mean our voices can’t be heard.”
Many students wanted to make sure that whoever was elected reflected their views and ideas for how the state can be improved. Freshman Uma Fox, who interns for both Montgomery Councilmember and County Executive-elect Marc Elrich and Congressional member-elect David Trone, said, “RM is such a diverse community, and I think we need to make sure that we put people in office who represent our diversity.”
The Washington Post noted students involvement has also increased due to the amount of protests and marches for issues such as gun violence. Students have also become more aware and involved in politics by working on campaigns, going door to door and encouraging others to vote and be engaged through social media and any other methods.
Even after the elections, students such as those from Super PAC are committed to continuing to make sure students’ voices are heard in the political conversation. “It’s safe to say that I, along with my fellow Super PAC members will stay involved since, speaking for all of us, it truly is our responsibility,” Levy said.