This election cycle has been like nothing our country has ever seen before. This year, the College Democrats of the University of Wisconsin will be working tirelessly to ensure that we elect progressive leaders who will move our state and our country forward. Our organization will continue to work toward a more inclusive and supportive campus climate for every single student in Madison.

Our activity on campus is stronger than ever. As the official student branch of the Democratic Party on campus, our institutional support from the Democratic Party sets us apart from other student organizations since members of College Democrats are well equipped with the skills necessary to be successful in political internships and careers.

Joining College Democrats connects you to a network of other like minded students across Wisconsin who are working toward similar goals. Throughout the year, our organization presents many opportunities for members to travel to other parts of the state to meet and share ideas with students from other chapters. These events include ones like the Regional Summit and Convention, which College Democrats of Wisconsin specifically sponsors, providing students with opportunities to work directly with elected officials, party leaders and their peers. Just this past year, College Democrats were the first students to know about opportunities to volunteer at the Democratic Presidential Debate in Milwaukee and participate in the Democratic Leadership Institute.

With student debt and funding for higher education being such hot topics in political campaigns at the moment, it is imperative, now more than ever, that students have a seat at the table within the political process.

As an active member of College Democrats, students are allowed to experience exceptional access to elected officials and to make their voice heard to the people who have the greatest capability to affect real change. Our organization accounts for reform that can be made at all levels of government. We stress the importance of local elections to our members to ensure that progressives are elected to every office capable of affecting our lives as students.

This election cycle is too important to sit out. Student loan reform and the cost of higher education will only ever serve as campaign rhetoric if students take action. UW’s College Democrats is the best organization to facilitate relationships between students and elected officials. These relationships ensure that the progressive voices of students are heard loud and clear in the legislature.

It is our organization that is knocking doors, making phone calls and providing the student perspective on hot button policy issues. College Democrats are working to elect leaders like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., proven progressives who will fight for the interests of students and families. Students not only will have the satisfaction of being at the front lines of the progressive fight in this historic election but our efforts will be recognized by those who have the power to change our lives for the better.

Eliana Locke ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.