Students for Peace, Unity, and Democracy club advocates for political participation on campus and beyond

On September 27, senior government students experienced something out of the norm; registering to vote. Representatives from Burlingame’s new Students for Peace, Unity, and Democracy Club passed out voter registration forms during government classes,  giving seniors the option to jumpstart their political participation and register.

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“We had the voter registration drive for the seniors mostly. It’s senior year, and there is a lot of stress with college apps, testing, and school and people start to think there’s no point, so we wanted to make it easier for them,” senior Alana Hroziencik, the club’s co-founder, and president, said.

All seniors who filled out registration forms are in the system. Even if they are not yet eighteen, once they turn eighteen they will already be registered and eligible to vote.

Students for Peace, Unity, and Democracy was founded by BHS students who returned from the Sojourn to the Past trip and wanted to implement the life-changing lessons they learned. The annual trip, which takes students through the South to learn about the Civil Rights movement where it began. Among the founders are seniors Hroziencik, Max Gaines, Sonia Varah, Gracie Kober, Allie Atkeson, Jackson Cabreros, and Kevin Cahua, all of whom were on the trip.

Currently, there are around twenty members in the club. At meetings, members discuss the projects they want to begin and the significant issues they believe affect Burlingame and the country as a whole.

“I felt like I wanted to take more initiative in the community by improving many negative aspects and issues,” senior Kevin Cahua said.

Other than increasing voter registration, the club aims to focus on issues presented in the current presidential election.

“We aren't trying to sway people to vote either way. We just want people to vote and get involved. If you have something to say we want you to say it respectfully. There is a division in this election where people are breaking up based on their ideas and dividing themselves, which ultimately will make things worse,” Hroziencik said.

In the midst of political arguments and divisions, the club plans on being a peaceful, influential, and meaningful presence on campus. Voter registration is one of the many ways the club plans on making that presence known, and not just for seniors.

Last year, multiple members protested Donald Trump’s speech in April. While participation in the protest, which took place in Burlingame, was not specifically for members of the club, it was one of the inciting incidents that inspired Hroziencik and the other founders to increase their involvement among students and cement their status as a group.

Beyond elections and politics, there are things larger than our student body that the club plans on addressing. One of these issues that the club is particularly concerned with is gender inequalities.

“A lot of club members were really upset by the comments made at the code of conduct presentation,” Hroziencik said.

Though the club has yet to decide a course of action, they plan on pursuing advocacy for gender equality on campus and beyond.

Students for Peace, Unity, and Democracy is a unique club, unlike any other clubs currently associated with the school. “Not only is it teaching students to address issues in their community, but it will also help them look at the big picture in the real world and make them feel like they can make a difference by bettering society,” Cahua added.

If you are interested in getting involved in government in a way that goes beyond phone banking or case work, stop by F202 on Tuesdays at lunch.

 

Posted on November 7, 2016 .