Politics: Students work with Government


Ryan Silvola/Observer Staff First-year Becky Lindstrom and Junior Sophie Bennett work with Slone and other Augustana students on Neil Anderson’s campaign for U.S. Senator. Anderson is running against incumbent Senator Mike Jacobs, D-Ill.

Students have used their connections with campus political groups in order to meet candidates and get involved with national politics.

Junior Ryan Shoemaker only joined the College Democrats club recently.  However, he made an unlikely connection at the homecoming football game his sophomore year at Augustana. It was there that he met an 82-year-old Augustana alum, of the same Phi Omega Phi fraternity, with whom he developed a bond. This new connection led Shoemaker to be introduced to the chairman of Rock Island County Democrats.

Shoemaker volunteered at the Central Committee’s office this past summer, an experience which gave him the opportunity to meet Democratic politicians such as Cheri Bustos and Hillary Clinton, and to become very close with the staff with which he worked.

“The work I was doing became very enjoyable and my colleagues became a family,” Shoemaker said. “Because the experience was so amazing, I will be continuing my work for the party and would encourage others to do the same.”

Senior Austin Schoeck is president of the College Republicans club and chairman of Students for Marco Rubio, both of which are groups on Augustana’s campus.

“I chose to join both because I enjoy talking about politics and current events with fellow students and to get involved in different political campaigns around the QC area,” Schoeck said.

Shoemaker has decided to get involved with local government by being appointed as Chairman of the Young Democrats Committee and will be running for a Rock Island County Board seat in District 22 in this coming election.

“It keeps me busy, but I’m blessed to finally be doing what I am passionate about,” Shoemaker said.

Schoeck, however, focuses his political energy on discussions within the College Republicans club. 

“Our discussions in College Republicans club about the upcoming presidential election vary,” Schoeck said. “It seems like we all favor different candidates for a variety of reasons, so this makes our discussions very lively and almost like mini debates.”

Members of the club usually watch GOP presidential candidate debates together and discuss how they feel each candidate is doing during the debate, as well as whether or not they think candidates’ poll numbers will go up or down following the debate.

International students’ opinions on politics are a strong presence on campus, as well.

“We even have some international students in our group who have strong opinions on the American political system, and these ‘outsider’ opinions are always very interesting to hear,” Schoeck said.

The College Democrats club meets on campus every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Old Main. The College Republicans club meets every other Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the basement of Evald.