Political involvement is a major part of community life at SUNY New Paltz. In fact, SUNY New Paltz received the gold seal award from the ALL IN campus democracy challenge. Student voter involvement increased across all age demographics since 2014, especially amongst the 18-21 and 22-24 demographics. It went from 9.4% and 16.2% of that body of students voting to 41.3% and 42.4%, respectively.
While voting is one of the easiest ways to get involved in politics on campus, it isn’t the only way to do so. New Paltz and activism go hand-in-hand, and there are dozens of politically driven groups on and off campus that allow students to express themselves and their beliefs. Here are a few New Paltz groups that students should at least try to get involved in.
Political Science and International Relations Association
The Political Science and International Relations Association (or PSIRA) can be a great place for students with any interest in politics to start their own political journey. It’s open to all students, regardless of their chosen major. Meetings are held every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Student Union Building (SUB) 408, where students hold lively discussions and debates regarding some of the most important political issues in the modern era.
In addition, during the spring semester, a trip to Washington D.C. is held to meet with some of the most prominent politicians and political advisors in the country. Last semester students had the opportunity to speak to the chief-of-staff for Senator Richard Blumenthal, and the head of a 2020 re-election committee for President Donald Trump. This club offers great opportunities to anyone interested in politics.
New Paltz College Democrats
The New Paltz College Democrats (NPCD) is the New Paltz chapter of the College Democrats of New York (CDNY). Although this may not seem apparent at first glance, the NPCD advocate for Democratic causes in town and on campus, and hold meetings on Thursday at 7 p.m. in SUB 416. The CDNY’s top priority is getting college students directly involved in local politics for Democratic causes.
This includes widening college affordability and accessibility, increasing resources for improving mental health, expanding polling accessibility as well as passing the Equal Rights Amendment to protect gender equality in the state. For anyone interested in Democrat-leaning causes, New Paltz College Democrats is the place for them.
New Paltz Pride
New Paltz Pride (NPP) is the premier LGBTQIA+ advocacy group on campus. Here, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies are able to discuss and act on some of the most important issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community. NPP fights against homophobia, transphobia, racism, housing displacement and many other intersectional issues on and off campus. They meet on Mondays at 8 p.m. in SUB 407. However, NPP isn’t just dedicated to political advocacy, but it’s also about providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ students. These safe spaces are a place for the celebration of LGBTQIA+ identities in a society that relentlessly tries to oppress them.
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition
The New Paltz Climate Action Coalition (NPCAC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy group that deals with issues surrounding our climate. Their main goal is to push short and long-term legislation that protects the environment. Equally important is their efforts in educating the community about climate change and how it impacts the community emotionally and psychologically. NPCAC attempts to reach a full understanding of damage that pollution causes to the environment, not only for the physical environment, but for the people and animals that live in it.