Last semester, Penn College Republicans elected College junior Arielle Klepach as its president. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with her to chat about this year’s plans and conservatives on campus.
The Daily Pennsylvanian: Why did you run for College Republicans president?
Arielle Klepach: I was the vice president before and it was kind of a natural stepping stone because I’m one of two returning board members that are juniors, and the other junior who’s a returning board member is vice president.
DP: What plans do you have for the next year?
AK: The main [goal] is to make our presence known because … unless you look for us, we’re hard to find. Now that the election’s over, we want to really focus a lot more on the social aspect of the club … We also want to bring speakers to campus. It was really hard during elections to bring speakers to campus because everyone was just really busy and our club doesn’t have the national recognition I think that a lot of other CR chapters do.
DP: What speakers do you hope to bring to campus?
AK: We’re generally leaning toward bringing more moderate Republicans.
That’s another one of our goals — to make it known that we don’t want to be associated with the radical hardcore conservatism that turns a lot of people off. We want to be associated with more moderate conservatism. I would say the majority of the board is fiscally conservative and not even really at all socially conservative. There are some people who have their own socially conservative beliefs, but in general, we want to promote what we believe is the future of the party, which we think is moderate fiscal conservatism.
DP: How do you plan to keep enthusiasm and membership up after an election year?
AK: We want to revamp the organization completely. I think we have our small core membership but we really want to expand beyond that. The Dems … have been so great and enthusiastic about helping us build our membership and helping make this a much more bipartisan campus …
It also has to do with feeling secure about being a conservative on campus. I know when I first came here I was afraid to voice my opinions … and I feel like a lot of the time people are scared because they feel like they’ll be attacked if they’re a conservative or judged, and we want to make it a safe place. I think people get really excited when they hear a big name is coming to campus and it makes them … want to go to the event and find out more about that organization. So our goal is to be able to bring in a couple … big name speakers this [year].
DP: What improvements to the organization do you want to make?
AK: We want to improve on marketing … The one message I would want to give to the student body is: we’re here. I was reading at the end of last semester the “Cheers and Jeers” in the DP and one of them was jeers to College Republicans for not having a bigger presence during an election year. Personally, I thought we did the best that we could. It’s difficult when you’re on the outside and you don’t know … how hard it is for a group with 20 committed members to have a presence on a campus of [10,000] undergraduates.
DP: Do you have events planned with Penn Dems?
AK: I think the first thing we want to do is get our boards together. I think it’s a lot easier to work with someone you don’t necessarily agree with on everything when you get to know them as a person. We always do the State of the Union every year as a bipartisan event, so we’re going to do that again. We also want to do a bipartisan speaker event.Comments powered by Disqus
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