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For College junior Louis Capozzi , it is the dawn of a new political era at Penn.

In a large classroom inside College Hall, 150 students came together to engage in passionate debate — the first in what Capozzi hopes will be a monthly series of gatherings to hash out the most pressing issues of today.

It was the inaugural session of the Penn Political Union, a new branch of the Government and Politics Association. The organization is the first central political institution for people of all political perspectives at Penn to voice their ideas and opinions.

“I’ve never seen such passion about politics in my entire time at Penn,” said Capozzi, the union’s founder and president of the GPA. He added that even political fanatics came up to him after the debate and commented on the passion and fun the debate provided.

The group is student-led with support from the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative and the Political Science Department.

During the debate, five different political caucuses — libertarians, conservatives, liberals, progressives and independents — came together to debate a Personal Income Tax Fairness Act, a mock measure where all citizens would pay the same tax rate.

The motion failed, with the liberals, progressives and independents voting against the act. The conservatives then introduced an alternative bill which caused an uproar, Capozzi said. People shouted their opinions and banged on the tables, similar to a British Parliament session. Through the chaos, the alternative bill was dismissed.

The PPU is the first political debate forum at Penn and also the first group that allows all different political minds to come together and share their opinions. The forum is modeled after the Yale Political Union, as well as the Oxford Union and the Cambridge Union Society.

When questioned why there is a need for the PPU, College junior Klaudia Amenabar , chairwoman of the Progressive caucus, said that “it gets students involved in politics without funneling them into a political party right away, and allows for students to learn political maneuvering strategies that are important to any profession.”

Similarly, the PPU Speaker and College senior Gabe Delaney , who wielded the gavel at the sometimes unruly debate, said that there is a need for a politically diverse group at Penn. He added that it will “breathe new life into public policy debate at Penn and cultivate future leaders of this country and the world.”

The group meets on the third Thursday of every month in College Hall, room 200, to hold their debates. The next meeting will be on October 16. Although no one knows what the next debate could be about, if this first debate says anything about the nature of the group, it will definitely be loud and exciting.

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