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In a show of bipartisanship, the Penn Democrats and the College Republicans hosted a joint barbecue yesterday to welcome interested newcomers.

Students mingled and discussed politics over hot dogs and hamburgers in the courtyard of the Fels Institute of Government in the first joint event co-hosted by the groups this semester. The two organizations are making an effort this year to work together to recruit new members and increase political awareness on campus.

Both the Penn Democrats and the College Republicans consider increasing student membership in their organizations to be a primary goal this year.

“We’re recruiting people and growing the number of people coming to meetings,” Penn Democrats President and College junior Jordan Levine said.

He plans to host political discussions on Tuesday evenings called “Pizza and Politics” to draw members.

College Republicans events were “not well attended enough last year,” but more freshmen signed up this year than ever before, according to Vice Chairman and Engineering sophomore Peter Terpeluk.

Terpeluk said this year, College Republicans has the unique opportunity of being in the opposition for the first time in eight years.

“We have to take advantage of the mood that is sweeping the nation in terms of outrage,” he said.

Both organizations want to continue their successes in inviting guest speakers to Penn. Last year for instance, the Penn Democrats hosted Vice President Joe Biden, and the College Republicans brought political commentator Dick Morris.

The two organizations are currently collaborating on co-hosting a series of debates. Levine said he hopes these debates will draw participants who aren’t usually involved in the political scene on campus, as well as excite regular members on issues of health care and upcoming elections.

“I want to do them as frequently as there’s material,” Levine said.

Penn Democrats is also working on hosting a health-care talk with Penn professors later this year.

And for new students, the cooperation between the two groups is apparent and appealing.

“I just wanted to see what the political scene is like on campus,” said Wharton freshman Christopher Perez, who attended the joint barbecue yesterday. “It’s nice to see both groups coming together.”

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