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College Democrats reactivate just in time for Election Day

Published on November 10, 2022

College Democrats reactivate just in time for Election Day

Student organization brings top Democrats to campus

Gov. Ned Lamont addresses students at a pre-election rally organized by the student organization College Democrats

Richard Blumenthal, U.S. senator for Connecticut

William Tong, attorney general for Connecticut

Gov. Ned Lamont, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Atty. Gen. William Tong and other top Democrats in the state came to Eastern on Nov. 4 to encourage students to vote on Election Day. The event happened through the efforts of political science major Grace Carlos `23 and the student organization College Democrats. This was the first event by the College Democrats since the club’s recent reactivation. 

“Eastern has a lot of voters that have made an impact on the outcome of these elections,” said Carlos, who interned with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and served as the guest speaker for the Democratic party’s candidates. “Just like Joe Courtney (Connecticut’s 2nd District Congressman) said, we might not have won the previous election if it wasn’t for the involvement of college students.” 

Grace Carlos
Grace Carlos `23, leader of Eastern's student organization College Democrats 

Throughout the rally, both Carlos and Lamont emphasized the influence that young voters can have on the trajectory of our nation’s political, social, cultural and economic atmosphere. However, many of the guest speakers said these changes can only occur if the youth of the country practice their inalienable right to vote. In fact, Carlos believes that students cannot abandon their participation in the election process if they wish to be represented by a candidate who reflects their personal values and beliefs.  

“I think it is important for us to get out and vote,” said Carlos. “Even after the election, it is important for us to continue communicating to make sure that our voices can be heard, our needs can be met, and that all of us will be represented well in office.” 

Jenfrey Florentino, interim assistant director of Student Activities, praised Carlos for encouraging high voter turnouts among college students. He hopes that she will continue to inspire student-wide change on the political front for the rest of the year.  

“Although the College Democrats have been a historically active group on Eastern’s campus, the group was actually dissolved last year,” said Florentino. “However, Grace Carlos and Jennifer Croughwell were determined leaders that spearheaded Lamont’s rally and even the club’s return. I’m excited to see what they’ll do next!” 

Carlos and Croughwell’s advocacy for student involvement is also helped by the group’s broad reach. Eastern’s College Democrats is a subsidiary group of the College Democrats of America as well as the College Democrats of Connecticut. 

“Basically, we organize Democrats on campus, help people become informed about the parties along with their missions and their goals and just help people become equipped to know about the political process,” said Carlos. “We also want students to know how to connect with their legislators once they graduate so they can help incite positive changes on their own.”  

During the rally Carlos, Coughwell and many other student volunteers convened at the Fine Arts Instructional Center Amphitheater to assist students with voter registration, absentee ballots and mail-in ballots. They also informed students about their group’s mission and how they can become active members moving forward.  

“I want to shout out Student Activities because they were a huge source of support for making sure this was going to be a success,” said Carlos. “This was a great first event. We had a lot of students work collectively to make sure this would be an amazing event. Between sharing the information, letting their friends know and making sure everything was set for all the candidates, it was truly a big team effort.” 

Students like Eastern junior Alonzo Hill `24 said that the College Democrats’ team effort was worth their share of trials and tribulations. 

“The College Dems helped bring all sorts of people together to help teach them about the importance of voting,” said Hill. “They were able to bring everyone together in a safe space where they could discuss their political views. Things like this don’t happen very often. I’m super grateful for this opportunity.” 

Written by Jack Jones