April 16, 2014
By Jacqueline Schaefer
During the College Democrats of Wisconsin State Convention, the UW-Whitewater College Democrats received an honor. They were given the College Democrats 2013 Chapter of the Year Award.
The convention, April 4 and 5 in the Hilton Center in Milwaukee, was a chance for all the college chapters in Wisconsin to join together and share ideas and inspiration.
Second-vice chair of the UW-W chapter, junior Sarah Bregant, said the award was based on several factors.
“Representatives from chapters vote on who has done the best in recruitment and member retention and outreach,” Bregant said. “This year it was more about how you’re doing as an org on campus, and do you have a presence on campus.”
Junior Jon Fera, the chair of the UW-W chapter, said he is happy other delegates see UW-W’s hard work.
“It sounds funny to say we won member of the year when we have 10 members, because we’re not a big chapter,” Fera said. “But I think that shows a lot about the quality of our chapter. We work into the hours of the night to get the job done.”
The UW-W chapter won the award with five out of 15 possible votes.
Many schools in Wisconsin have a chapter of the College Democrats organization. Each chapter belongs to a region, of which there are four. UW-W is in the Southeastern region, along with UW-Parkside, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and Carthage College.
Schools from all four regions of chapter attended the convention, and some members, including Fera, presented. More than 150 students were present to collaborate, network and vote on the new executive board members.
“It’s really neat to have all those ideas and all those people in the same place that we can really build on,” Bregant said. “Its nice to see what other chapters have done and recognize them for their successes.”
Fera is the currently on the board of the Southeastern Region of the College Democrats. His job was to organize a regional summit, which Whitewater hosted last semester. During the convention, Fera was elected as the second-vice chair of the state board for the College Democrats.
As second-vice chair, Fera is third in power and said he plans to work with the chapters to increase voter registration and increase communication between chapters.
“Typically, what the second-vice chair has done is serve at the pleasure of the chair and vice chair, and I ran on the platform that I don’t want it to be like that anymore,” Fera said. “I plan on taking the skills I have during the College Democrats and the Whitewater Student Government and using that for the benefits of the state organization.
Aside from registering voters and spreading awareness about political issues, Fera said the UW-W College Democrats have a dedication to community service.
The group will participate in Make a Difference Day and also Adopt-a-lot. Make a Difference Day is two days of community service dedicated to helping the city of Whitewater and Janesville accomplish local clean-up projects.
Adopt-a-lot is a UW-Whitewater clean up program, hosted by Whitewater Student Government, where organizations sign up to clean different parking lots around campus.
Students looking to join the UW-W College Democrats can contact Fera or come to a meeting. Meetings are at 9 p.m. on Mondays in UC Room 266.