Comprised of liberal, conservative and progressive members, new Eastern organization Political Activism Club (PAC) strives to make the campus a place of open conversation for controversial topics.
Enacted by senior Samuel Vaughan in response to the 2016 presidential election, PAC launched in the beginning of this semester with help from its adviser, political science professor Dr. Sharon Gramby-Sobukwe. Vaughan, along with Katrina Belmontes, Peter Crawford, Stephen Krieble and Jon Thomas II, vowed to make their message of openness heard to the students and faculty of Eastern.
Staying true to their promise, PAC teamed up with Refuge, EU’s LGBT+ alliance group, to organize a stand to fight for the neutralization of Eastern’s policies regarding LGBT+ students and faculty.
Like the LGBT+ Solidarity Week that took place in mid-March, PAC plans to participate in other on-campus large-scale activities. Each week, the members of PAC gather to vote on a topic to tackle next. Because they choose to discuss one topic at a time, PAC can put forth the utmost amount of effort toward one issue. So throughout the week, following choosing a topic, the group strategically plans how they can actively involve students in their fight for justice for everyone, especially the marginalized.
“We work to give [students] the tools to act on their beliefs in a tangible way,” Eastern alum and PAC board member Stephen Krieble says.
In between topics, PAC divides into groups and assigns members to attend local rallies and protests, to call congresspeople and senators and to start conversations here on campus about various controversial topics.
Because of their willingness to discuss controversial issues, Student Activities Board’s “Perspectives” was hosted by PAC on March 27. In their panel discussion, PAC asked questions regarding race relations in the United States. They questioned whether our economic system discriminates against people of color and what place hate speech has in constitutional law. On this panel, PAC had a variety of speakers from different backgrounds, which aided in their goal of having a fair, open discussion.
PAC openly recognizes that many students at Eastern have differing views. Some have thought that PAC is a liberal group, but that is far from the truth. PAC is very inclusive. Each member brings his or her different views to the meetings in order to help decipher what route the club should be taking. Because of their inclusiveness, PAC can make significant impact at Eastern as a united front.
“There is no better place on campus to see just how much people are willing to give to each other and sacrifice only to see their brother or sister elevated. It’s beautiful, and it is what my faith is about,” Samuel Vaughan says.
In the future, PAC hopes to get involved in local protests and marches. On March 30, PAC plans to send members to protest the gerrymandering of District 6, the district in which Eastern resides. This protest may change the act of Radnor being misrepresented as exclusively Republican in congressional elections. Further, PAC plans to send members to Washington, D.C. to discuss lobbying about climate change. Learning how to lobby on Capitol Hill can propel young adults into American topics that need for government attention.
PAC hopes that their influence can bring about change and equality for those who desperately need it.
PAC meets in the Gough Great Room on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. To join, prospectives are encouraged to attend a meeting or speak to one of PAC’s founding members. For more information, visit their Facebook page, “EU Political Activism Club,” or contact board member Peter Crawford via email at email@example.com.