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Penn Leads the Vote is committed to increasing voter turnout on campus for national elections. Photo by Rebecca Elias Abboud

Credit: Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Since its founding by politician and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, Penn has fostered political discussion and advocacy through campus organizations. Some of these groups are action-oriented — with a distinct focus on producing political change in the community — while others are discussion-based — with their primary goal being the pursuit of political knowledge. Here is an overview of the groups to get involved with on campus if you’re interested in politics:


Penn College Republicans: This group hosts speakers, social events, discussion forums and other programs geared toward spreading conservative values. Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert spoke at an event the College Republicans co-hosted this year. Despite Philadelphia’s majority-Democratic electorate, the College Republicans do communicate with local campaigns and occasionally host former and current Republican politicians.

Penn Democrats: This other prominent political group spreads the ideals of the Democratic Party through similar speaker events and forums. Various politicians have visited Penn on behalf of Penn Dems, including former President Bill Clinton, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The group also endorses a candidate for Philadelphia’s mayoral race. They endorsed Nutter in 2007 and just recently endorsed former City Councilman Jim Kenney for the May 19 Democratic primary.

Penn for Hillary: New to campus this academic year, the group is dedicated to supporting Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in 2016. Their mission, which includes supporting Hillary across campus and coordinating with her campaign, is likely to intensify as the primary elections nears.


Penn Leads the Vote: This group is committed to increasing voter turnout on campus for national elections. They spread voter registration information in the lead-up to elections and provide instructions and directions for voters on Election Day.

Government and Politics Association: This group spurs political and civic involvement on campus through its various subsidiary groups and initiatives. GPA is divided into three branches: the Penn Political Union, a mock legislature which meets once a month to debate student-written bills; the Spectrum, the group’s print publication which also has an online blog; and the Polybian Society, an intellectual discussion group which hosts weekly symposiums about divisive topics.

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