Iran Agreement Debate

The Georgetown University College Democrats welcomed everyone with our first event of the year on the Iran Deal.  Dr. Matthew Kroenig, author of “A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat” and Dr. Colin Kahl, National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, debated the costs and benefits of the recent nuclear agreement signed between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The September 9th event in HFSC Social Room was standing room only.  We were pleased not only to have such a great turnout, but to have such great debaters and such a strong presence on both sides of the argument.  Thanks to everyone who showed up.

Dorm Open Houses

This September, College Democrats hosted open houses in each of the four freshman dorms. They were an opportunity for freshman to get more involved in College Democrats, find out more about the club, or just talk politics.  And all three of these definitely occurred.  We had a number of new signups and many freshmen who expressed interest in College Dems, so we consider them a resounding success.

GUCD Roundtables

This semester we had another effective session of roundtable discussions, which allowed everyone to share their own positions while listening to why others might hold opposing views.

The first roundtable focused on Environmental issues in general and the Keystone pipeline in particular.  While numbers were lower than we would have liked, it was nonetheless an effective beginning to our roundtable series.  The second focused on US-Israel relations, Knesset elections, and the Israel-Palestine elections.  While we were unsurprisingly unsuccessful in untangling the Middle East mess, the discussion helped people on both sides of the debate find some common ground and understand why positions were held.  Special thanks to GUCR, GIA, and J Street for cosponsoring and making it a fantastic event with over 40 in attendance.  Finally, we ended the semester by looking at the upcoming Presidential election, discussing who we wanted to win each party's nomination, whether Hillary's nomination was inevitable, and how the process would play out.

Alumnus of the Year: Hakeem Jeffries

On Tuesday, April 21st, GUCD honored Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY, 8th District) with our annual Alumnus of the Year award. The award is given to a Georgetown graduate who has not only achieved prominence in public service, but also has been shown to epitomize the ideals of social justice, care for others, and giving back to one’s community characteristic of both the Democratic Party and Georgetown University . Representative Jeffries received a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown and has represented the aforementioned ideals and values while in Congress through his work on criminal sentencing and prison reform, among other accomplishments.

           In addition to receiving the award, Representative Jeffries also made a short speech to an audience of around fifty individuals that included GUCD members, undergraduate and graduate students, university staff members, and some of his own constituents. Representative Jeffries discussed his career so far and his legislative work on criminal sentencing and prison reform before taking questions from the audience. Finally, he took some time to pose for pictures and chat with those of his constituents that had attended the event.


Student Loan Advocacy Speaker: Ethan Senack

  On Wednesday, April 15, Ethan Senack, US Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) federal higher education advocate, spoke to GUCD members about his student loan reform and advocacy work. GUCD’s Student Loan Advocacy Team and Speakers’ Team co-organized this speaker event to raise awareness on issues related to student loan reform. Members learned about both the grassroots outreach and the Congressional lobbying side of political advocacy. Mr. Senack also gave valuable guidance to GUCD’s Student Loan Advocacy Team for further advocacy ideas.

    In addition to speaking on student loan reform, Mr. Senack also discussed his own experience working in nonprofit, grassroots organizing with PIRG. Mr. Senack began working with PIRG as a canvasser and student organizer in college. Besides advocating on higher education issues, Mr. Senack also directed the New Voters Project to increase voter turnout and directed the Washington, DC campaign office.


Dinner with an Expert: Joseph McCartin

On Thursday, March 26, several GUCD members, including President Matthew Gregory, Membership Director Deb Sparks, and Treasurer Jared Ison attended a dinner with the prominent labor historian, head of the Kalmanovitz Initiative, and Georgetown Professor Joseph McCartin. The event was part of GUCD’s “Dinner with an Expert” series, during which any member may volunteer to go out for a subsidized meal and discuss political matters with renowned scholars and policymakers in the Georgetown community.

           Those who attended were treated to fine Mexican cuisine at the local restaurant El Centro, and had the opportunity to ask Dr. McCartin about his work, his take on labor and union-related historical and current issues, and contemporary domestic and international politics, namely the 2016 election and the unique field of candidates slowly coming into form. The discussion was thoughtful, and the intimate setting allowed all present to engage in meaningful dialogue with both Dr. McCartin and their peers. Afterward, all reported that it had been an enjoyable outing.

GUCD Networking Fair

On February 27th, representatives from prestigious think tanks, non-profits, and political consulting firms such as the Arab American Institute, Hilltop Public Solutions, Children's Defense Fund, and Greenpeace came to speak to College Dems members about potential internships and how to best speak to potential employers.  GUCD members gained important networking experience and understanding of what people look for in resumes.

Student Loan Advocacy on the Hill

On Friday, February 27th, students from GUCD’s Student Loan Advocacy Team and Vice President Tracey Zhang visited Capitol Hill to meet with Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) policy advisor. Students discussed concerns related to the Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act and the Higher Education Act Reauthorization. In particular, students advocated against decreasing federal student borrowing limits by $20,000 and oversimplifying the FAFSA.

    Students engaged in very fruitful discussion with Sen. Patty Murray’s team and hope to continue their advocacy efforts on student loan reform in the upcoming semester. In particular, students hope to reach across the aisle and engage in dialogue with Republican members of Congress on student loan reform.


Representative Keith Ellison comes to speak

keith ellison.jpg

On February 11th, Congressman Keith Ellison came to speak to Georgetown College Democrats about how optimistic young leaders can shape and effect change.  The talk, followed by a lengthy Q&A, may have gone long, but remained engaging and interesting throughout.  While Ellison by no means minimized the large structural problems facing the United States, he focused on the more positive arc of U.S. history.

Ellison summarized his position when he said, "Whenever young people that I encounter think that it is somehow sophisticated to assume the worst and that nothing’s going to go right it makes me a little sad, because if the youth aren’t idealistic and the youth don’t feel like the world can be a better place heaven help the rest of us"


For more info, you can check out The Hoya's article on the event here.

Environmental Advocacy Team: EPA Hearings

On Thursday, January 29, Environment Advocacy Team Leader Grady WIllard brought a delegation of GUCD students to testify at an EPA hearing on smog pollution standards. Scientists have disputed that current smog pollution levels (75 parts per billion) are actually not safe. The EPA hearing addressed the possibility of lowering smog pollution levels to 60-70 parts per billion. Members discussed the health risks and environmental hazards associated with increased pollution levels.

    GUCD student testimonies helped play a role in ensuring the EPA can finalize stronger protections against pollution through demonstrating strong public support for these measures.



GUCD Members Mattie Haag, Aditya Pande, and Jawad Pullin more than held their own in the debate with College Republicans Wednesday, January 28th.  Moderated by Professor Mark Rom and covering topics related to social issues, economic issues, and foreign policy, the debaters deftly answered questions that were thought-provoking and insightful. While there was no exit polling on who won the debate, our biased opinion is heavily in favor of our own debaters. Special thanks to our Research Team for helping with Debate Prep.