Mizzou College Republicans foster political debate and open conversation
The group plans to host politicians and attend conferences throughout the year.
Sep. 29, 2015
With 100 members and counting, Mizzou College Republicans wants to give students an avenue to get involved in political discussions and a head start to their future political careers.
“Our main goal is just getting college students a foot in the doorway so they can have a little bit of experience,” Mizzou College Republicans president Skyler Roundtree said.
The organization gives its members the opportunity to can gain experience through volunteering or internships, since they have connections with both state and city legislators.
Mizzou College Republicans have members of diverse majors, including political science, accounting, engineering and humanities.
“We are open to anyone as long as you have an open mind,” Roundtree said.
Freshman Chris Vas joined College Republicans to have a place to learn from a variety of people and discuss conservative ideals.
“I know on campus there’s a lot of rallies and meetings for a lot of different, more-liberal thinking groups, so I think that the College Republicans are a great place for someone to go who tends to lean more conservative, but we accept anyone who just wants to learn,” Vas said. “Anyone with opposing viewpoints is welcome to come too. There’s no requirement of who can join. We just like to have discussion, whether you agree or disagree. We really just have an open discussion. That’s our main goal.”
Whenever politicians come to speak, Mizzou College Republicans encourages its members to get involved in the visiting politician’s office.
For example, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., visited Columbia on Sept. 26. Mizzou College Republicans plans to send some of its members to work on his campaign team.
“(The visiting politicians) are really friendly,” Roundtree said. “A lot of these legislators will give us money to put on events and donate to our costs. Or whenever we travel to Washington, D.C., they will offer to help fund the trip.”
The 2016 presidential election season is a heated topic for the Mizzou College Republicans.
“During the presidential election, we try to get as many Mizzou College Republicans as we can … with these people running for offices,” Roundtree said.
The organization likes to attend conferences and events throughout the year. Most recently on Sept. 25-26, 10 members attended the Missouri College Republicans State Leadership Conference in Springfield.
Vas travelled to the conference with the group, which was attended by members of College Republicans organizations across the state of Missouri, a Missouri gubernatorial candidate, and a member of Congress via Skype.
“I actually learned a lot about more issues that are facing this state and our country,” Vas said. “We talked a lot about the Missouri Right to Work bill that just barely didn’t pass, but a lot of the sitting congressmen and women were talking to us about what it takes to actually pass a bill, as well as just hearing from speakers who are more conservative; which is kind of tough on campus. It was kind of like a place where we can share our thoughts among like-minded people.”
The group also plans on traveling to Columbus, Ohio, for the National Midwest Freedom Conference on Oct. 2-3.
Sophomore Benjamin Kochuyt said he enjoys the company of fellow members and the networking opportunities made available through the organization.
“If you see an MCR on campus, come talk to us,” Kochuyt said. “We all love discussing politics and meeting students of all viewpoints that share the same passion.”