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Clubs reorient after election

John Cameron | Thursday, November 15, 2012

Disappointed but not defeated.

Notre Dame’s College Republicans may not be thrilled with the outcome of last week’s election, but the club plans to continue its efforts to educate voters and advocate for conservative politics on a campus, local and national level.

Club president Mickey Gardella said the election outcome is only a headwind to the club’s work.

“We watched the election results as a club and naturally we were not happy that Gov. Romney lost and that the party lost seats in the U.S. Senate,” Gardella said. “The election outcome will not change the types of activities we will have for the rest of the year … Once the new Congress gets to work, we’ll resume the task of educating our members about the issues.”

While Gardella said the club’s events will be less frequent than during election season, the College Republicans have already kicked off post-election programming.

“Last night we had a meeting where ND political science professors Michael Desch, Patrick Deneen and Andrew Bacevich lectured to and answered questions from members concerning the relationship between traditional conservatism and the Republican Party,” he said.

Despite months of working on opposite ends of a heated election, some of the club’s future plans center on collaboration with its on-campus political opponents, he said.

“Next semester we will hold our fourth annual troop drive fundraiser to benefit a veterans’ charity,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the College Democrats to team up with them for this initiative.”

The College Democrats are hoping to rally off of what was a largely favorable election, club president Camille Suarez said.

“We are all very pleased with the outcome of the race,” she said. “Specifically, we are all excited for four more years of [President Barack] Obama and [Vice president Joe] Biden and very excited that one-fifth of the Senate is now comprised of women. However, we are very upset that [congressional hopeful] Brenden Mullen lost his race.”

The club won’t be pushing all of its renewed energy back into politics, Suarez said.

“Given the outcome of the races, the club plans to focus less on politics and take a more active role in the community,” she said. “We are planning on increasing the amount of service we do at the Catholic Worker House, and we are hoping to start a food drive for the families in need in South Bend during the holiday season.”

As far as political dialogue, the club hopes to use its lightened workload to bring back some of its traditional programming.

“Now that election season is over, we are bringing back professor dinners,” she said. “With these educational events, we set up a dinner with a political science professors and the club and have an informal group discussion about politics.”

Suarez said she hopes to use the momentum of the election to continue to have a lively club presence on campus and in the community.

“We’re hoping to, at the very least, maintain the level of club activity post-election,” she said. “But we are aspiring to become a more positive force in the South Bend community in the following months.”