An upstart club wants to inspire young people to get involved in politics – and they’re using a counterculture candidate to get the message across.
The Utah Millennials for Bernie Sanders wants to provide a place where Salt Lake Community College students have an opportunity to partake in politics in a way that coincides with student life.
“The [goal of] this organization is to get [the community] politically engaged, to generate interest for politics in the community and specifically for progressive politics,” says Utah Millennials for Bernie Sanders founder Sammy Grenny.
The Utah Millennials group has already established itself at other schools like Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Westminster and the University of Utah.
“For SLCC, it’s about SLCC,” Grenny says.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a millennial is someone who came of age around the year 2000. The generation is, at times, perceived negatively by earlier groups like the baby boomers or Generation X.
But the characteristics that are looked down upon are going to be, as Grenny described, “the cures to the world.”
“We consume less, we care less about materialism, we are way more concerned with the environment and with what our effects have on the world,” Grenny adds.
Even though the club has the specific title of Utah Millennials, Grenny wants everyone to know that the club is open to anyone.
“We will always [focus] on how to engage millennials, but that never means to be only millennials doing that,” Grenny explains.
Someone who is not considered a millennial can still take a stance in millennial politics.
The club has no membership requirements and encourages traditional and non-traditional students to just “show up.”
SLCC students that join in their last semester have opportunities to continue their involvement through city and college extension branches of Utah Millennials for Bernie Sanders.
“My vision for this is a little different,” Grenny says. “The reason I’m engaged with Bernie is because he’s the first person I’ve seen that has actively invigorated our generation politically.”
Grenny feels Bernie Sanders portrays himself as authentic.
“I think when you talk to people in our generation, people who have been disenfranchised by politics, who don’t feel interested in it, it’s because of a lack of authenticity,” Grenny states.
To be part of an organization like the Utah Millennials, it is important to have an understanding of the platform Bernie Sanders represents.
Grenny says that Sanders is not an extreme socialist and his approach is more capitalistic with a flair of socialism.
“So democratic socialism best defined is just a willingness to use government wherever and whenever it can be used to assist the people and improve their lives,” Grenny explains.
The club is action-based and a great way to connect with people sharing similar or new passions. The meetings are informative and maintain a sense of community.
Students are needed to serve in designated chair positions for the SLCC Millennials club. Students who wish to volunteer are also welcome.
The club also needs a social media expert to manage a club Facebook page.
“We don’t have a [SLCC Millennials Facebook page] right now,” Grenny says. “We need someone to start that.”
Once more students become involved, the club will move forward with its political campaign and meet a few hours a week.
Grenny encourages any student interested in joining the Utah Millennial club to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.