Campus groups are aiming to inspire political fervor during the second annual Political Action Week this week.
Penn Political Coalition, the umbrella organization for political groups on campus, is sponsoring the week-long marathon of political events — from Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s “Hot Chocolate on the Walk” to UPenn Women’s Political League’s screening of “Miss Representation.”
“The idea behind this is to build a community for political life on campus,” College senior and PoCo co-chair Sam Gersten said.
The week will feature over 15 events related to politics, hosted by PoCo constituent groups and non-affiliated groups like the Civic House Associates Coalition and the Undergraduate Economics Society.
The week’s keynote event, a talk on student political activism by political science professor John DiIulio, will take place at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Fox Leadership Hall Conference Room.
“We definitely wanted someone who could speak about an issue and appeal to all the member groups,” Gersten said. “We settled on the idea of student activism in politics, and [DiIulio] has the perfect pulse on it.”
PoCo hopes to build on the success of last year’s inaugural Political Action Week, which was cut two days short by Hurricane Sandy. This year’s week boasts a larger array of events than last year, College and Wharton senior and PoCo co-chair Urja Mittal said.
“We have a lot more events held by our own constituent member groups and associate member groups,” she said, noting that there was an effort to diversify the types of events beyond speakers and panels.
Also new this year is the Synergy Committee, a fund that allowed PoCo to help its groups cover the costs of holding events. The fund totals $7,500, and $750 was made available to sponsor Political Action Week, a resource that Mittal said made it easier for groups to participate.
While interest last year was driven by the presidential election, this year, PoCo hopes to tap into students’ interests in the non-electoral elements of politics.
“These are issues that touch the lives of Penn kids every day,” Mittal said. Penn for Immigrant Rights, for example, will host its second “I am a Human” march, which will speak to the treatment of undocumented people in the United States.
“You don’t have to be involved with the parties to participate in politics,” she added.
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