By Kira Barrett
For Unwind magazine
There are two clubs on campus that most likely have no overlapping members: Terps for Trump and Terps for Hillary.
College students have long been known for outspoken political beliefs and passionate opinions. With the University of Maryland’s proximity to Washington, D.C. and the new opportunity to vote, it feels especially important for students to think about our futures and vote for the candidate we feel passionate about. Some of the most passionate politically minded students belong to the Terps for Trump and Terps for Hillary groups.
Obviously, Terps for Trump and Terps for Hillary, though both political groups, share different purposes and goals.
Terps for Hillary emphasizes voter registration, information about policies and creating a space for people passionate about each candidate to meet and talk about the election.
According to Adria Obonyo, freshman government and politics major, Terps for Hillary wants to “push undecided voters to exercise their right to vote.” They encouraged voter registration by setting up tables around campus where students could register.
Co-President Meredith Lightstone, a senior government and politics major, said the group has also coordinated with campaign offices to get out the vote in Maryland and in other states. Co-President Ami Kutzen, a senior American studies major, says that after voter registration ended, their goal has not only focused on getting people to the polls, but also building enthusiasm for Hillary.
Other efforts the group has undertaken include phone banks, canvassing trips to Virginia, campaign trips, encouraging voter registration, and scheduling debates with other groups on campus.
Freshman Terps for Hillary member Melanie Gnatt, an education major, says she joined because she “would meet people that have the same interests. I really enjoy politics, and I’ve been a huge supporter of Hillary for a long time and wanted to help spread awareness and promote her campaign.”
Terps for Trump is quite different.
Junior member, Nick Zielinksi, a fire protection engineering major, joined the group because he loved ‘The Chalkening.’ After Terps for Trump chalked campus, he knew he had to be on board for the next outing. He also said “I hate free-speech oppressing liberalism in most colleges, so chalking was a great way way to ‘stick it to the man.’”
Matthew Morris, the group’s president, neglected to comment.
However, Zielinski explained that while they are passionate about Trump being elected, it is more of a place for people to socialize and discuss their ideas.
“It’s not a stodgy group like the College Republicans,” says Zielinski. “We don’t phone bank or do groundwork. It’s just a group of like-minded people who like spreading counterculture ideas.”
Most of Terps for Trump’s activities have involved chalking campus at 2 a.m. Terps for Trump also tried to get Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative British journalist, to speak on campus. Yiannopoulos is known for his fight for free speech and his ban from Twitter after a racist tweet about comedian Leslie Jones. However, the group was not able to raise enough money to get him to come to this university.
Both Terps for Trump and Terps for Hillary share a passion for politics and allow students to celebrate their respective candidate. The two clubs have also collaborated to host debate watch parties at Hoff Theater.
While this nasty and competitive election has many people shying away from being caught up in the media, these members aren’t afraid to stay involved and encourage our community to think about difficult issues in their own respective ways.