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The Government and Politics Association partnered with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy to host a political debate featuring Penn Dems, College Republicans, Penn Justice Dems and Penn for Liberty on March 23, 2022. Credit: Riley Guggenhime

Penn’s undergraduate political organizations spoke with The Daily Pennsylvanian about a variety of plans for the spring semester including speaker events, conferences, and new board compositions.

Last semester, the political groups encouraged the student body to participate in the 2022 midterm elections, in which Pennsylvania held a race for governor and a Senate seat.

College Republicans

College first-year and Penn College Republicans Political Director Peter Kapp told the DP that the College Republicans would be attending the David Network Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, held on Jan. 20 and 21, follows the Washington, D.C. March for Life and brings together students from several of Penn's peer institutions in the Ivy League, in addition to Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

"There are a lot of prominent conservative speakers who discuss the issues that conservatives struggle with — not necessarily the issues we primarily agree upon, but the ones that are much harder," Kapp said, adding that it would be a good experience for the club to gain a "new perspective" and hear from politicians.

The conference discusses “the architecture and underlying principles of the religious liberty and pro-life cause, the broader conservative movement, and its allies,” according to the David Network website. 

Kapp added that the College Republicans are also in the process of hosting more community service events. He said that the student organization is seeking out programming which engages the Penn community, veterans, and local schools.

"We have several ideas for speakers, from college professors at various universities to politicians in-office and people who are generally knowledgable to politics today," Kapp said.

Young Democratic Socialists of America

College senior and Outreach Chair of Penn Young Democratic Socialists of America Benjamin Moss-Horwitz told the DP that YDSA looks to continue working closely with Philadelphia’s YDSA chapter over the next semester. 

Moss-Horwitz — a former staffer for the DP — said that Penn YDSA will continue to strengthen its educational wing through its theory reading group. YSDA is deliberating on their endorsements for Philadelphia’s mayoral and city council races and will eventually begin campaigning and phone banking for the endorsed candidate.

Penn YDSA — which previously operated as Penn Justice Dems — will also continue its Left at Penn initiative, which it started last semester. This initiative, as Moss-Horwitz said, is a weekly newsletter which provides insight into what left-wing Philadelphia organizations and Penn advocacy groups are doing. 

Penn Democrats

College sophomore and Penn Democrats Communications Director Nicole Giegerich told the DP that she is excited about the organization's new board and upcoming work.

“After an intense semester with the midterm elections, we are looking to keep that momentum going, particularly for the mayoral race," Giegerich said. 

At the same time, Giegerich said the organization is focused on keeping the community engaged in politics.

"One thing we want to prioritize is ensuring Penn students have enough opportunity to hear all of the mayoral candidates speak and get involved with the campaigns," Giegerich said, adding that the organization might compile a video for students to compare mayoral candidates' political platforms.

Last semester, Penn Dems cohosted a "Darty for Democracy" at Clark Park where recently inaugurated Governor Josh Shapiro spoke to students while campaigning for the governorship.

After "competitive" internal elections, Giegerich said the new board, composed of three returning members and six new members, is "made up of really great people who are all unique and excited to work."