DU Republican chair vows to combat apathy

Kevin Poyner wants the world to know: “Barack Obama is not everyone’s teddy bear.”

The president of DU’s College Republicans chapterstresses the importance of voicing an opinion, even if it’s not a popular one.

“You kind of feel like the low person out there,” he says, noting most conservatives feel that universities (DU included) are generally liberal.

His chapter, which has about 25 active members among the 500 people on its mailing list, are making sure all voices on campus are heard. Organizations including a DU pro-life group and the new conservative student publication Press Club are helping get the word out, he says.

But he’s quick to say those with liberal ideals don’t bother him; it’s apathy that does. “[That] really irks me,” Poyner says.

“When you start getting out in the real world, you start to ask yourself ‘What should the role of government be?’” There are real issues that affect students directly — among them are the environment, economy and foreign policy.

And the issues don’t always have clear-cut answers, he says. It’s not always just right and wrong, black and white. “There are shades of gray. A lot of people on campus don’t see that shade and we want them to find it,” Poyner says. “There’s a lot of people that say, ‘I’m moderate’ or ‘I’m liberal,’ but what does that mean?”

That’s where debates and conversation on campus fit in. He says he hopes the Republican and Democratic student groups debate more on campus in the coming school year.

Although the DU College Republicans volunteered when presumptive GOP nominee John McCain was on campus May 27, Poyner says [as a group], they mostly focus on local races — including Bob Schaffer’s run for the Senate — for the “people that directly affect us.” Mundane office work, phone banking and precinct walking are all a part of it. “There’s only so much we can do for John McCain,” he says.

The junior political science major says he has no definite plans yet for the Democratic National Convention but says he’ll definitely participate somehow. But he’s not about to protest anything. “What does a protest accomplish?” he says. Instead, DU College Republican plans to get out their name and message during the DNC instead.

No matter what political figure comes to town, it’s a great experience, he says.

Poyner says he was happy to witness students’ reaction to Obama’s visit to campus in January. “Sure, we don’t agree with a lot of what he believes in, but we’re going to welcome him on campus,” he says. “[Students] don’t care when they walk past a table in Driscoll Bridge, but they care when someone like that comes. [When he was here], there were lines out the door.”

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