TAPP executives plan new year of educating students on politics

TAPP received the Chancellor's Excellence Award for Best New Organization.

A year after Tigers Against Partisan Politics began, the new executive members of TAPP are focusing on new ways to continue their motto to "educate, discuss and engage."

Education and Advocacy Director Trey Sprick and Co-President Camille Hosman said they had lofty ambitions when creating the organization in February 2012. When Sprick first arrived at MU, he said he quickly realized his beliefs fell in neither the Republican or Democrat camps, and resolved to find a way to prosper that “middleground-esque” attitude.

“I saw a need for a place for students who aren’t yet sure of how they feel (about politics) or who don’t fit in with either side,” Sprick said.

Hosman, however, pinpointed a different need.

“I realized the lack of an organization dedicated to political education, so I worked with Trey to implement that,” Hosman said. “We filled a void that has not been tried to be filled before.”

They took the concept and ran, gaining more and more popularity, Hosman said. They now have six executive board members and two assistant executive board members.

TAPP received much support from powerful organizations, including a great relationship with the MU Honors College, Sprick said.

“We held some events with (the Associated Students of the University of Missouri) and (the Missouri Students Association), drawing crowds of over 200,” Sprick said.

These events, including presentations of experts in the political field, community discussions, and debate parties, broadened their acclaim, Sprick said.

“We held an event series entitled ‘Tap Into Democracy’ and had many students participating in panels and discussions,” said Co-president Garrett Poorman.

Their hard work in creating events was recognized with the Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Best New Organization in April. With the victory came $300, which Poorman said TAPP plans to use in continuing to create interesting, informative events.

However, with no election for TAPP to hold discussions about in 2013, the executive board members have to switch their mindset and goals for the upcoming school year. Fortunately, a determined, resolute plan is in place, Sprick said.

“While we maintain the same interests, the focus has definitely changed,” Sprick said. “We’re going to focus more on civic engagement and political topics, examining the effects policies have on daily life and sparking discussions based on current events.”

Hosman said that even without an election, events won’t stop happening.

“We hope to reach out and teach ways to get involved past voting, such as how to write your representatives. We want to educate students on all the different roles they can play,” Hosman said.

TAPP also plans to start off the year with an event geared toward journalism students, as journalism is so often intertwined with politics, Poorman said.

“We want to stress the importance of being nonpartisan in journalism,” Hosman said.

But even with all the various events, Poorman said that TAPP’s goal and mantra — to "educate, discuss, and engage" — will remain the same.

“We want students to look at things in terms of the policies behind them," Sprick said. "People look at issues such as gun violence or immigration, but never realize that it’s the policy that causes it. We want to shift the paradigm.”

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