Political Understanding and Activist Club

A new student organization has been formed on campus, the Political Understanding and Activist Club. The group is dedicated to promoting reasonable political discourse and encouraging active involvement in the political sphere according to one’s own beliefs.

The group came into being at the behest of its current chancellor, Connor Krater, a student here at UIS. Having developed the concept during his time in Model Illinois Government (MIG), the initial idea was to hold a large forum on political topics where students could have moderated discussions on a variety of controversial issues. That event has taken the form of “Spilling Tea, Spittin’ Topics,” which took place on March 21. The group came out of the need to more directly manage the logistics of the event rather than rely on the various co-sponsors. Additionally, the aforementioned large event now plans to hold a number of smaller events promoting respectful dialogue and political engagement, with the possibilities including a monthly meeting to discuss specific topics.

The group also hopes to promote coordination between the groups at UIS, a facilitation in accordance with a concept described by Krater as “analogical hegemons, essentially getting groups together to work toward common goals.”

In particular, this means finding shared goals between groups of diverging agendas and working to propagate cooperation in achieving these shared goals. The group is nonpartisan and open to all, “the goal is everybody, everybody.” The group currently maintains eight members, with the other officers including treasurer Trenton Newberry, vice chancellor Aislinn Diaz, and secretary Diana Ibarra. The faculty advisor for the group is Kristi Barnwell, associate professor of History here at UIS.

The symbol of the group is a unicorn: “We felt it was unique, we’re something different. We’re not a political club devoted to one ideology, we encourage all ideologies that don’t encourage harm or discrimination.” The most important thing that Krater wants people to take away from this is for them “to understand that you can disagree with people, you can disagree with them wholeheartedly in every fiber of your body, but you should be able to understand them… disagree all you want, you shouldn’t hate them.”