The College Democrats at the University of Central Florida kicked off the 2012 election cycle today with a visit from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, herself a Florida College Democrats alum.
The election's still nearly 10 months out, but the students who gathered to hear from Rep. Wasserman Schultz know the importance of the organizing work they're doing on campus. In a critical swing state like Florida, it might make all the difference between winning and losing on November 6. Most of these students haven't had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election before—so they're going to make sure their first time counts.
College Dems president Ida Eskamani says, "UCF is in the swing area of one of the most important swing states in the country. The students on this campus can change the tide of this election. We could make a huge difference, not just in this area but in the country. We've been working hard for the President already, doing a lot of student outreach. We want to get a head start before anyone else does. We know our candidate and want to be supporting him in any way we can: phone banks, canvasses, and educating students on the President's policies."
They've certainly got an advantage over their counterparts—and it's a contrast made plain by Rep. Wasserman Schultz's every-seat-filled visit. Despite a very important Republican primary on Tuesday, not a single GOP presidential candidate has made his way to the UCF campus in Orlando—the nation's second largest university, with 56,000 students of voting age.
"It shows they're not interested in the student vote," says junior Ali Kurnaz. "They're probably the ones who will try the hardest to make sure we don't vote. You won't see them mention in their debates how college students should be voting or getting civically engaged. President Obama does. We know that. That's why we have to try that much harder to make sure we come out, and we come out strong."
Want to get involved with College Democrats at your school? Find out more here.