This upcoming year is a particularly exciting one in politics. Partly to reflect the excitement of this election year, the Georgetown University College Democrats are thrilled to begin a dynamic and informative semester of events and dialogue. While taking advantage of the opportunities that 2012 presents, we will continue the traditional programming that has made us one of the strongest clubs on campus today.

This semester, GUCD will put on a number of events for the entire Georgetown community. We hope to both inform and engage students about a variety of political issues that are important to Democrats on campus. Whether it is a member of Congress discussing life on the Hill or a panel about the future plans of the fight for marriage equality, these programs will be interesting channels for students to learn more about Democratic ideals and how they apply to politics.

In addition to being an organization dedicated to Democratic causes, we are also a group devoted to fostering a sense of community within our own membership. GUCD takes a break from the political scene with outings to Ben’s Chili Bowl and leadership retreats designed to strengthen the bonds between our members. These excursions allow fellow college Democrats to form meaningful relationships.

We will also continue to provide services to help our members plan their futures during their time at Georgetown. We are proud to organize our internship fair every semester to help students find opportunities for professional development for the following summer or semester. Our broader efforts to promote professional development include sending weekly updates on available internships, inviting speakers to share their professional experiences and providing members with access to exclusive events across the District. Simply put, members of GUCD gain tremendous opportunities and skills from their participation in our club.

Meanwhile, our outreach department has worked hard throughout the last year to build relationships with organizations throughout the District and beyond. We have connected with the Center for American Progress, talked over Skype with Cambridge University’s Labour Club and welcomed leaders in politics and new media.

We believe that part of our club’s mission must be ensuring that our constituent have an opportunity to be involved in D.C. government, and we look forward to co-sponsoring an event featuring District Councilmember Tommy Wells. We have been actively participating in the D.C. Federation of College Democrats, which has allowed our members to connect with the members of the Democratic college clubs throughout the city. A major accomplishment this past semester also included Israel Issue Week, which we helped organize in collaboration with J Street U of Georgetown. This weeklong series of events included appearances by Representatives Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as well as former Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel Yossi Beilin. Our outreach efforts are not merely extended to off-campus organizations, for we believe that a successful Democratic movement requires unity at every level. To this end, we believe that creating and sustaining strong partnerships with the diversity organizations of our campus is critical.

As we begin this semester, our primary goal is to help students interested in the Democratic political scene gain the skills and connections they need to be successful movers and shakers later on. We welcome all to join the discussion.

Joe Vandegriff & Jason Gerson are president and vice president of the Georgetown University College Democrats. They are both sophomores in the College.

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