New Political Clubs Open Up Discussions


Saskia Van't Hof

Students in Young Conservatives discuss current issues during their meeting.

Saskia Van't Hof, Features Editor

In the classroom, students are often told to shy away from discussing politics. However, Southern Lehigh students are forming their own clubs as a way to discuss current events with their peers.

In January of 2019, two new political clubs, the Young Conservatives and the Young Democrats, were created to give students with different political beliefs more options. Currently, the Young Conservatives meet on day 4 spartan period and the Young Democrats meet on day 5 spartan period.

Both clubs were created with the hopes of giving politically active students a more niche community. Unlike the bipartisan political club Junior State of America, which was created at the beginning of the 2017-2018 new year, these new clubs offer a more specialized experience.

“[I joined Young Conservatives because] I thought it was a good opportunity to be able talk to people with similar viewpoints. We’re all different, even though we believe in similar things,” junior Ella Daddona said.

The young democrats and young conservatives are not Southern Lehigh’s first attempt at specialized clubs. Many students have organized a variety of short lived clubs over the years.

In December of 2012, the libertarian club was formed. They held meeting on Wednesday mornings before block scheduling allowed time for spartan period. In the 2013-2014, a Southern Lehigh chapter of Young Americans for Freedom was created for students.

However, the formation of these two clubs marks the first time in recent years that both conservatives and liberals can be represented a the same time.

“I felt like there’s not enough involvement for conservatives in this school atmosphere. I know there was a liberal club last year or the year before, but there was never really a club for republicans”, senior Jerry Ascolese said.

Not only do the clubs differ in ideology, but also in structure. In Young Conservatives, students begin most discussions by looking at a video or an article on a specific topic. The Young Democrats offers a smaller, more informal discussion led by different students.

Both clubs hope to spread awareness inside and outside of the club. By having distinct groups, the two clubs are able to have a more direct approach to political outreach.

“My goal is to grow it so that a majority of these seats can be filled,” president of Young Democrats Cameron Hines said. “I want to be able to get as many people as possible involved, not just in the club on day 5 spartan period, but outside of the cub in politics and field trips and so far to become civically engaged.”

At the same time, the two clubs have faced some concerns about how specialized clubs could foster division between students of different beliefs. However, members of both clubs disagree.

“I think it can influence divisiveness, but I also think if it’s done correctly it can really bring people together,” Hines said. “I think there’s negativity on both sides but if we can come together and respect each other and respectfully disagree, then we can build our nation.”