1. Keep up with current events
Whenever something controversial happens in the country, chances are there’s a student group that’s going to do something about it. Stay in the loop on facebook, that’s where people create events with details about whatever march or protest may be going on! The students here aren’t afraid to take a stand for what they believe in. If you see something in the news that sounds like would stir up controversy, there’s probably something being done about it here.
2. Join some politically neutral clubs
There are several debating societies on grounds that are all about openly sharing and talking about different ideas. The Burke Society, Jefferson Society, and Roosevelt Society all operate under this premise. Furthermore, there is a club called No Labels that pairs up two people on opposite ends of the political spectrum and facilitate respectful and productive discourse. These are great ways to figure out where you stand politically if you’re not sure yet, or to test your arguments against those who disagree with you!
3. (If you lean right) Join conservative clubs
On top of the more neutral clubs listed above that facilitate open dialogue, there are also clubs for those who want to strengthen their arguments among those with whom they agree. Some popular and active conservative-leaning clubs on grounds include College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom, and Students for Individual Liberty. If you’re interested in a more focused club on a specific issue, Hoos for Life is not explicitly conservative but advocates for Pro-Life stances.
4. (If you lean left) Join liberal clubs
On the flip side, there are also plenty of clubs to represent you if you are more on the left of the spectrum! Clubs like University Democrats, NAACP at UVA, DREAMers on grounds, and feminism is for everyone will give you a place to be around like-minded people and hone your arguments. UDEMS will focus more on the legislative side of politics and are involved with student council, whereas the other clubs are more special-interest and focused on a certain idea.
5. Look out for these clubs (and more) tabling and flyering
One of the best parts of UVA is the emphasis on free speech by the Dean of Students, Dean Groves. Because of this, it is pretty common to see political clubs tabling by the lawn or in Newcomb. They often pick a certain topic and then engage with anyone that’s willing to talk about it! Also, there are always flyers for political events coming up on grounds. Anywhere from speakers to marches, UVA is a great place to go to if you want opportunities for political involvement!