SHU club seeks to address social issues

The Seton Hall Youth Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) is an outlet for students to voice their own opinions on political issues.

Photo courtesy of Adam Varoqua

Although they are not officially recognized on campus yet, YDSA is working to establish their presence and fight for more radical changes. Essence Williams, a sophomore history major and the club’s treasurer said, “DSA is one of the fastest growing organizations in America now, and it’s popping up on campuses all over the country. We just wanted to bring one to this campus!”

Annabret McKibbin, a senior diplomacy major, said that the club’s main goal is very similar to Bernie Sanders’ in his 2016 campaign: addressing problems such as racial bias and lack of inclusion.

“We approach racial bias as an institutional issue,” McKibbin said. “Additionally, we know that bias has been an ongoing problem on campus, and our goal this semester is to use every opportunity to uplift and encourage POC, LGBTQA+, and differently-abled voices within the YDSA and the school as a whole.”

The organization also addresses political issues such as universal healthcare, free tuition, queer liberation, an end to racism and the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
McKibbin said that all four members of the executive board felt strongly about starting this type of organization.

She said that the club’s president, Adam Varoqua, a senior psychology and anthropology major, took action and posted a flyer about an interest meeting for the club in Fahy Hall. She added that after Varoqua posted the flyer, the other members convened and bonded over their shared passion, founding the club.

“We’re looking for equity for all, especially since we’re in a very interesting political time,” Williams said.

“We’re just trying to get students, especially our age, mobilized and more involved.”

Williams said she would like to educate people on what is actually happening in this country, instead of them hearing about current events with any bias. She said she would also like to get them interested in the political process.

Liam Scollins, a senior diplomacy and public relations major and the club’s secretary, said the organization is dissatisfied with the political process, both nationally and locally.

“We want to give students who don’t necessarily feel represented around here a different outlet to voice their opinions,” Scollins said.

McKibbin agreed with Scollins. “We just didn’t identify with Democrats anymore as young people,” she said. “Most of us had a problem with Hillary Clinton during the campaign; she just wasn’t someone that we could identify with as millennials and young people going to college.”

Along with serving as a “safe space” to share opinions for progressive causes, YDSA participates in public demonstrations pertaining to their political beliefs.

In January, the club attended a protest at an ICE Detention Facility in Newark, N.J., to advocate for human immigration policies and protest against the detention of detained immigrants.

“We want to practice what we teach,” Williams said.

YDSA will be hosting their first meeting of the semester on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in Stafford Hall, room 109.

Kristel Domingo can be reached at kristel.domingo@student.shu.edu.

Editors Note: Adam Varoqua, who is cited in this article, is a member of The Setonian staff.