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UNR Student political groups look for members by other means

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:35 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For the past four years, students up at UNR have been exposed to politics on campus through some major events and heavy hitters.

Four years ago, Bernie Sanders spoke on campus. University students participated in the Nevada Caucuses.

Last October then presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke to a crowd inside the student union. Two years ago, Sanders returned to endorse Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Jackie Rosen.

It did not go unnoticed by Republicans on campus. Those students held Trump banners on the third flood of the parking garage right next to the Rosen rally.

These days however, all is quiet.

“Even last semester there would be people all over the place,” says Ryan Usher with the College Republicans of UNR. “Bikes up and down the hill. So, it is very barren now,” he says.

Usher says before COVID, he could make contact with students who might be interested in joining the College Republicans of UNR.

That would be ideal these days since he says his organization is in a rebuilding phase.

“So initially my plan coming into this semester was to have tabling events for freshman week and orientation,” he says. But due to COVID those events have gone virtual."

“We had a few meetings over quarantine virtually to try and see how we were going to plan ahead for the year,” says Devika Bararis with the UNR Young Democrats.

Bararia says their group has enough members to be recognized by the university. Still it’s a challenge to politically engage students through things like Facebook or Instagram She agrees one-on-one is the best way capture attention.

“I think it would be easier if we could set a table up on campus and engage directly,” she says. “But I think the steps we are taking are the absolute that we can. We are having voter registration drives we are having candidates.”

Both sides say they would love a visit by the presidential candidates or their running mates on campus. But social distancing means large rallies and voter registration drives in person are out of the question.

Both GOP and Democratic student organizations at UNR will have to depend upon what their generation is best at: social media.

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