City College students are becoming more involved in the 2016 presidential election as nomination day approaches, and one group of students on campus can be heard chanting, “Feel the Bern!”
Students formed the SBCC for Bernie club last semester with a mission to support Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders, by raising awareness about his campaign in the community. Club members are passionate about encouraging the younger generation to get involved with politics by voting.
“As a student I feel I have a duty to inform other students about what’s going on,” said Club Founder Arianna Thorne, a dance and linguistics major. “I don’t want to feel powerless and I want to act and really make a difference.”
The group is sponsored by Bernie Sanders’s campaign website where Sanders is up-to-date with clubs and organizations around the country that support his nomination.
The group coordinates outreach events with other local groups supporting Sanders, such as the UCSB for Bernie club and Santa Barbara County for Bernie 2016 organization.
“The point of this club is to actually make a difference in the votes in Santa Barbara,” Thorne said to club members during the Thursday, Feb. 25, meeting in the Luria Library.
The group gained 56 new members since being established early in the fall semester.
The club tabled Monday, Feb. 29, on West Campus. Members answered questions about the candidate and offered voter registration to those who stopped by. Bypassers also picked up free stickers and posters saying “Vote for Bernie, end student debt” and “Vote for Bernie for Free College Tuition.”
“He has integrity and is one of few candidates whose history is clean,” said Club Member Diego Matisz-Cordero, an environmental horticulture major. “It is important to have someone who doesn’t just say what is politically expedient or what they think will boost their career.”
The club routinely holds phone-banking events where members get together and call residents in states that have upcoming caucuses or primary elections. They do this to estimate the number of Bernie Sanders supporters and inform voters about his campaign.
On Friday, Feb. 26, a group of members held a phone-banking event before Super Tuesday, on March 1, when several states held primary elections.
Club Member Jon Reed, a media arts major, expressed that Sanders’s chances of participating in the California primary are determined by how he competes with Hillary Clinton during Super Tuesday.
The club plans to regularly table on campus to inform students about Sanders’s campaign. They will also host debate-watching parties with other supporting organizations.
“Among college students, it’s Sanders who is popular,” said Matisz-Cordero. “Students are stoked about him.”
Bernie Sanders has consistently been popular among college students since announcing his candidacy almost 10 months ago.
His clean background and volunteer-funded campaign are large factors in his mounting credibility among college students and millennials.
“The force behind Bernie Sanders success is there is no campaign,” said Thorne. “It’s grassroots and volunteer driven.”
All students are welcome to join the SBCC for Bernie club meetings, which are at 6 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month in Library Room 146.