By Hannah Mamont
Despite the easygoing vibe at this years Office of Physical Education Recreation and Sports (OPERS) festival, on Sept. 19, many of the campus organizations that tabled have already kicked into high gear. As the Nov. 7 election draws near, several groups are already buzzing about the issues that they want to bring into the spotlight.
On one side of the grass field, the College Republicans attracted many students to their table with life-sized cutouts of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
"We’re a diverse group," College Republican President Kelly Hayes said. "We want to provide a counter balance to the liberal views on this campus."
As for the election, Hayes aims to "pull Republicans at UCSC out of hiding" in order to support Republican candidates running for both local and state offices.
The College Republicans endorse local candidate Michael Morrison for California State Assembly, who campaigned at the festival.
"I’m a different kind of Republican," Morrison said. "I’m pro-labor, pro-choice and pro-environment."
Across the field the College democrats tried to attract student voters. "We want to bring the issues of younger voters to the Democratic Party," said Natalie Rojas, president of the College Democrats. "We want to elect candidates who care about [matters] like lower-cost health care and tuition."
The College Democrats attracted a crowd to their table by offering students a chance to register to vote. One member shouted through a megaphone to draw curious passersby to the table.
Rojas has big plans for the organization before November rolls around. "We’re collaborating with other campus organizations to hold an election forum on this year’s issues," Rojas said. "The number one reason young people don’t vote is because they’re not informed."
Although the College Democrats have not formally endorsed any Santa Cruz City Council hopefuls, they plan to support candidates in favor of increasing educational funding and universal health care.
Political party groups are not the only ones feeling the pressure of the approaching election. Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ) has devoted its attention to the November ballot as well. Specifically, SRJ wants students to vote no on Proposition 85, which would require minors seeking abortions to notify their parents. A similar initiative appeared on the ballot for last fall’s special election.
Megan Hall, who is taking over the group this fall, hopes to bring more attention to reproductive issues.
"More people of our generation need to be involved, educated and aware of how reproductive issues play a role in society," Hall said. Members of the SRJ group hope to bring about empowerment through awareness and education.
Hall has big plans for the future of the organization, including a film and documentary series, as well as an educational series with speakers to help young people "make healthy choices to positively impact society."
As for the fall, Hall’s main goal is simple: "Encourage young people to vote."