Club Spotlight: Political Science Association

By Ülvi Gitaliyev

Matthew McCandless, club president, addressing the Political Science Association.

Welcome to The Berea Torch’s first Club Spotlight. These articles will explore and interview student organizations in our college and spotlight their goals and benefits to the student body.

The Political Science Association has existed in Berea, in one form or another, for years now but is now trying to expand its membership and activities for 2022. Like all successful student clubs, there was plenty of drinks and food as well, though none of it influenced this article. During the meeting, they discussed what movies to watch for future meetings and what activities to organize. For example, some officers wanted to organize left vs right discussions on hot-topic issues ranging from states’ rights to foreign policy.

When asked who the club was for, Club Officer MacKenzie Hall said, “I guess you could say it’s mainly for political science majors, but at the same time, we’re not solely here for political science majors. We’re to kind of bring awareness to politics and the importance of being a part of politics and being involved in voting and things like that for the entire community.”

Newcomers to the club agreed with this sentiment, with one senior saying that her first impressions of the club were “enthusiasm and energy” and that “the club is dedicated to making itself more known and active in the campus community.”

Club President Matthew A. McCandless added the club had “raised my awareness about a lot of political issues. I know we did a gerrymandering event last semester and before that, I’d heard of gerrymandering, but I didn’t really know much about it. It broadened my horizons on a lot of issues that definitely affect a lot of people here in Berea. It affects people all across this country, especially in a lot of minority communities. It will just better prepare me for a career in politics in the future and give me the knowledge and the leadership skills that I need.”

Hall spoke at length about what value the club added to their life in and beyond college: “I personally think that having organizations like this on campus really helps people realize that they have the right to different opinions, have the right to learn and go against what they were raised knowing because I know a lot of students that come here, they come from very sheltered homes or they’re from small communities that have the same mindsets and everything. But having people on campus and having organizations like this, it just kind of is there to tell people you’re your own person, have your own thoughts, and we’re here to support you no matter what you believe. Since we’re nonpartisan, we don’t really care what you believe. We’re here to spread knowledge and have everybody learn both sides of everything, because that’s the most important thing about politics.”

At the end of the meeting, the club officers talked about their future campus activities. McCandless said, “We definitely are going to have a movie showing coming up. We’re going to be showing the 4 Hours at the Capital Documentary, which is about the January 6 insurrection that happened and we plan to probably have one or two more movie shows throughout the year. We’ll watch movies like On The Basis of Sex with Bader Ginsburg and Vice, about vice-president Cheney.”

For those more interested in debate, the club has got you covered. “We really want to revive Friendly Fires, which is a really popular event in my freshman year. A ‘Friendly Fire’ is just where two people from two different sides get together and they argue over civic issues, whether it’s abortion, gun control, climate change, whatever. And we get people from very usually pretty polar opposite argument to come together and have a friendly, spirited debate about the topic,” added Club President McCandless. His last words were “That’s just some of the stuff we have in the works. We have more in the store, but we don’t want to spoil all of that.”

The PSA’s Instagram page can be found here.

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