Reviving the NDP club
After nearly three years of being inactive, a group of Wilfrid Laurier University students, with help from the New Democratic Party community within Kitchener-Waterloo, has revived WLU’s NDP club on campus.
The club has been re-formed because “of recent NDP success in federal elections,” explained Richelle Batuigas, the club’s president.
“[The success] motivated us to bring the club back together, especially since a number of NDP supporters are youth …. We thought there should be an NDP body on campus,” she continued.
The presence of Liberal and Conservative clubs on campus was also a form of motivation to bring back the NDP club.
Batuigas explained that the decision to revive the club was solely a result of students. There was no influence from any professors, but the decision did involve some community members.
“We’re really connected with the community, so we always have community members coming to talk to us and guiding us,” stated Batuigas.
The main goal of the NDP club is to promote awareness and engage students in politics, whether at the federal or provincial level.
“We’re not only existing to demonstrate NDP support, but also to encourage youth participation in elections, voting, government and to support those with progressive values,” explained Batuigas.
Eric Reis, the club’s policy director, added that the NDP club is not just a social group.“We do try and engage the student population in elections as much as possible.”
Reis also stressed that active participation from youth is extremely important in elections. He added that students need to be more aware of elections because “either provincial or federal politics can directly influence students now or have definite influences to them in the future.”
In order to get students more involved with the NDP party, and elections in general, the NDP club tries to have a strong presence on campus. “[There is] a huge lack of awareness on campus,” stated Batuigas. “So I guess one way to encourage participation is bringing awareness.”
While on campus, they try to engage students in the NDP party’s goals, the region’s candidates, and politics and elections in general.
Batuigas explained that students should know that politics have a lot to do with their lives. Different parties have different effects on education, tuition, student housing and provincial policies, which all positively or negatively effect youth.
One event the NDP club is planning to raise awareness on campus is a mock election involving campus clubs. Any club members who are interested would be invited to come.
Batuigas explained that the organizers would “hash out policies, but it wouldn’t be anything serious. It would be more fun … and [show] how parliament works.”
This event would also be done in collaboration with other political clubs on campus.