When I walked into the Kohl Center for the student organization fair three years ago during the first weeks of my freshman year, I was overwhelmed with the options in front of me. I dove in headfirst and signed up for close to a dozen clubs. Among those were the Christmas Caroling organization and ballroom dancing — I’m still meaning to get to those meetings. Being just one person, I obviously could not commit to everything I eagerly signed up to join. But one organization I am very proud to be an active part of throughout my college journey is the College Republicans of UW-Madison. 

College Republicans is a group of about 500 conservative students with varying beliefs, backgrounds and political ideologies. We welcome students that define themselves anywhere along the right side of the political spectrum, and we’re happy to have visitors who perhaps don’t identify with the Republican Party, but want to learn more about what we stand for. 

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Our meetings typically highlight a guest speaker of interest to students. In the past we’ve welcomed state and federal-level candidates, party leaders, elected officials, economists and leaders of various conservative movements. At a meeting, you can expect to meet plenty of new like-minded friends, pick up some GOP swag and enjoy a slice of pizza, too. 

Aside from meetings, we also host and participate in various events throughout the year. Fan favorites include a bus trip to Milwaukee for a Brewers game in the spring and a Badger game tailgate in the fall. We send a delegation of students to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington every year where they can learn more about the conservative message, grassroots strategies and get the chance to explore the city. We also have non-political volunteer opportunities and engage in debates and other activities with our friends at the College Democrats. We pride ourselves on productive, civil discourse. 

College Republicans will open doors to a myriad of career opportunities for conservative students. Many legislative and congressional offices funnel their internship and job openings directly to our organization, and our members have a competitive edge when applying. Additionally, we have a very active executive board with openings every year that offer great leadership experience. 

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But we’re not just a group for political science majors. We’re focused on building up a conservative presence on campus made up of students of all backgrounds. We want to help Republicans connect with one another in a city that may otherwise feel like it disregards them. College Republicans is a place where real bonds are formed with people who share your values. I personally have this organization to thank for a few of my closest friends whom I’ve spent the last three years with, as well as countless doors it has opened for me to pursue my goals. 

If great friends with shared values, exciting speakers, fun events and opportunities to grow as a person sound appealing to you, I hope you’ll consider joining College Republicans. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates, and check out our website as well. We also have an office space on the third floor of the SAC this year and would love if you stopped by to meet us. 

We hope to see you at a meeting this year, and remember: ain’t no party like the Grand Old Party. 

Alyssa Birkeland is a senior studying Political Science, Management & Human Resources, and Spanish. She is the Vice Chair of the College Republicans of UW-Madison. 

Read about why you should join the College Democrats here.