In the Loop
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Tassneen Bashir / Senior Staff Illustrator

As the 2020 general election approaches—in 47 days to be exact—it increasingly infiltrates conversations, turning playful banter into political discourse. It’s making everyone sit on the edge of their seats as they contemplate how the election results will impact our society. As you consider which clubs to join this semester and prepare to vote in the general election for possibly the first time, here are some on- and off-campus political organizations to keep in mind.

ColumbiaVotes

Nonpartisan and student-led, ColumbiaVotes provides students with the tools and resources they need to vote in elections. As absentee ballots have become more popular than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, ColumbiaVotes offers a wealth of information that will be useful to students across the country. Recently, it began a fellowship program to ensure that voting reaches as many community members as possible. To learn more about ColumbiaVotes, contact cuvotes18@gmail.com and follow it on Facebook.

Columbia for Biden

Columbia for Biden is a political organization that supports the 2020 Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Officially recognized by their national campaign and New York for Biden, Columbia for Biden currently consists of about 200 members who engage in conversations regarding political activism for this upcoming election. Partnering with other democratic campaign organizations, this group engages in an array of political endeavors, from launching a high school mentorship program to textbanking yellow states. To get involved, contact columbiaforbiden@gmail.com, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram.

Manhattan Community Board 9 

Manhattan Community Board 9 is West Harlem’s municipal body that oversees various services for community members of Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights, and Morningside Heights. It consists of 53 board members and 9 task force committees, including the Economic Development Committee, the Health & Environment Committee, the Housing, Land Use & Zoning Committee, and the LGBTQ Task Force. CB9 hosts a General Board meeting on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. EST. Further, each committee hosts a task force meeting once a month. To find out the dates and times these will be held, check out CB9′s calendar of events. For more information on upcoming events and each committee’s contributions to the West Harlem community, check out CB9′s Facebook and Twitter.

Columbia Democrats

Columbia Democrats is known as “Columbia’s largest student political group” and takes on campaigning, lobbying, and issue-based organizing on all levels of government. With intersectionality, equity, and inclusivity being just a few of its core values, this student-run organization promotes open dialogues to encourage students to think about how to advance the progressive movement through addressing and acting on relevant social and political issues. Club meetings are held each Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST. To find out more about this organization, contact dems@columbia.edu and follow it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Columbia University Libertarians

Columbia University Libertarians is an organization that engages with members of the community on the theory and practice of libertarianism. Through guest speakers and hot topic discussions, CUL fosters a space to educate the community on today’s emerging nuances of the libertarian agenda. Regardless of your stance on this political philosophy, CUL invites all who are curious and eager to learn more about political freedom and economic liberty to attend their meetings. For more about how to get involved and upcoming events, contact libertarians@columbia.edu and follow on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Columbia-Barnard Young Democratic Socialists of America 

YDSA explores the various intersections of socialism by partnering with other groups on and off campus to launch campaigns that strive for the self-liberation of the working class and the oppressed. Some examples of its advocacy include initiatives promoting a Palestinian state and active engagement in the New York City’s Women’s Strike. For more on ways to get involved, contact columbia.ydsa@gmail.com.

Columbia Republicans

Open to all students at the University, Columbia Republicans aims to uplift the conservative voices of Columbia and educate the community on the founding political principles of America. Past guest speakers include American commentator and political analyst Bill Kristol and author and attorney Heather Mac Donald. The organization hosts general body meetings every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. For more information on how to get involved with CUCR, contact gop@columbia.edu, and follow its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Columbia Political Union

Columbia Political Union is a multi-partisan political organization focused on getting the ball rolling for civic discourse and political engagement among Columbia and Barnard students. For 85 years, this organization has provided the resources and space for students to cultivate their own political stances and ideals through everything from inviting campaign aid members to debate on presidential candidates to hosting discussions with municipal leaders. For more information, contact the organization at cpu@columbia.edu.

The John Jay Society

Named after Columbia’s renowned alumnus John Jay, the John Jay Society is a group that debates American society’s most provocative and long-standing issues through a moral and philosophical lens. If you’re interested in contemplating whether capitalism is good for the soul or if democracy holds happiness for most people, tune into the John Jay Society’s discussions. For more information, you can contact the organization here or at lucas.cremers@columbia.edu and follow its Facebook.

Lucha

Centering people of color, working-class folks, immigrants, and those who identify as gender non-conforming, Lucha fights alongside marginalized communities on- and off-campus. Lucha’s initiatives have included research on Harlem gentrification and advocacy for universal healthcare. Reach out to lucha.columbia@gmail.com to learn more about this social justice organization’s work.

Roosevelt Institute

Considering their organization a “think tank,” Roosevelt members welcome everyone to their weekly meetings every Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST to discuss policy change and civic action. Members also get the opportunity to work closely on policy initiatives through small focus groups known as Policy Centers, draft out and publish their own policy recommendations in the Roosevelt Review, and foster pre-professional relationships with elected officials and Columbia faculty within the organization. For more details and information, contact the Roosevelt board at roosevelteboard@columbia.edu and follow the group’s Facebook and Twitter.

Morningside Heights Community Coalition

The Morningside Heights Community Coalition is a community-based organization made up of local residents, partner organizations, and businesses that convene to create grassroots initiatives and support local policy change. The MHCC has expanded its Health and Safety Committee and its Morningside Heights Community Fund to address issues like a lack of affordable housing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As its mission is to relay important community updates and maintain open communication with members of the Morningside Heights community, the MHCC will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on Monday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. EST, during which all Morningside Heights residents, elected officials, and stakeholders are encouraged to join in on topics relating to local health, housing, and rezoning. To learn more about the coalition and ways to get involved, contact mhccnyc@gmail.com and follow its Facebook.

Lastly, another way to be an active citizen is to vote. Check out our article on voter registration and remember that the deadline to register in New York is Oct. 9.

Staff writer Haleigh Stewart can be contacted at haleigh.stewart@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Political Organization Clubs Community Morningside Heights Manhattanville Harlem Politics Voting Elections
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