TAPP encourages political awareness, engagement

first_imgSince its creation in January 2017, Trojan Advocates for Political Progress has more than doubled in size. The now 60-member organization has expanded as it has strived to raise political and social awareness and increase engagement in the USC community.Photo from FacebookEncouraging activism · Trojan Advocates for Political Progress encourages members to guide activism and pursue interests by allowing them to vote on the topics discussed at the weekly meetings and to pitch their own ideas for events and speakers they are interested in.“[We want to make] people more knowledgeable and passionate about different causes so they can take their advocacy to the next level [and] have [that] knowledge, have those tools, have those experiences, so wherever they go off after college they can still put all of that to use,” said Alec Vandenberg, TAPP’s president and a columnist for the Daily Trojan.The organization aims to guide activism rather than dictate it by supporting members who want to pursue particular interests.“We want to be that conduit,” Vandenberg said. “We try to provide them outlets to make their voices heard, so we try to find a balance between what we see in the news and what we’re hearing from advocates.”The organization has provided opportunities for student activism by hosting events and fundraisers like March for SC, a series of events showing support for gun safety, and Roses for Refugees, which raised money for Syrian refugees. The organization also invites guest speakers ranging from union representatives to field directors for political campaigns.“I’m not a poli sci or public policy major at all, so I didn’t know how that stuff worked,” said executive board member Kate Cunningham, an engineering major, said. “Most of our speakers tend to be from political campaigns, so having their first-person perspective on what that’s like for them has been really cool.”This semester, the organization created eight committees to focus on different aspects of political engagement including elections, inclusivity and the legislative process.The initiative-focused committees are responsible for hosting at least one event during the semester, ranging from social to community service events, to raise awareness about different issues. Currently, the inclusivity committee is focusing on creating a project based off of gender representation in politics. However, many of the events put together by TAPP are spontaneous.“Our events kind of pop up weekly,” Vandenberg said. “There’s not necessarily things we have planned months in advance. It kind of just depends on what’s happening right now. [We try] to be a little flexible while still trying to maintain some stability.”Much of the club’s activism takes place on Trousdale Parkway, which executive board members consider an effective place to bring awareness to a large number of students.“Whether that’s telling people to call Congress or fundraisers, we think that’s the most effective way to engage the most people especially because social media only reaches so many people in different circles,” Vandenberg said.In the next few months, the organization plans to host more committee events, along with a political round table discussion with other campus political clubs, and attending the Earth Day march in April.CORRECTION: A previous version of this article attributed a quote incorrectly to Jessica O’Connor. It has since been attributed to Kate Cunningham. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.last_img

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