Club hub: UH Democrats
The UH Democrats gather weekly for a chance to voice their opinions on prevalent issues, get connected with Democratic organizations throughout the Houston area and engage in political conversations with local officials, city council members and senators.
UH Democrats President Catherine Tassin de Montaigu was one of its founding members in Fall 2012. Originally, there were 10 members, a number that surprised Montaigu, considering it was an election year. She and Vice President Tatiana Lutomski took charge the following semester with the goal of getting more students involved and excited about politics.
“Being involved in UH Democrats is important if you want to have a real impact on politics. It’s also a great way to learn about how politics work in the real world,” Lutomski said. “We have speakers almost every meeting, like City Council member Ed Gonzalez and (State) Senator Sylvia Garcia, who give us insight on what goes on in their offices and what we can do to be more involved.”
Turning Texas into a blue state is a goal the club works hard for. They are involved in Wendy Davis’s campaign for governor and hosted a phone bank for her earlier in the semester.
“I am so excited for Davis. It’s interesting; even if she isn’t able to win, she will get Democrats out and participating,” Montaigu said. “She’s giving a voice to people who haven’t had one before, and we are hoping to have her on campus soon.”
Currently, there are 50 members, a number that Montaigu and Lutomski hope will continue growing. Participating in events such as Frontier Fiesta has allowed the club more exposure and demonstrated to students across campus that politics can be fun.
“Last year was our first year to participate in Frontier Fiesta, and we shared a booth with the UH Republicans. Our booth was called ‘Politically Incorrect,’ and we had a dunk booth called ‘Watergate,’” Montaigu said. “It was an opportunity to get everyone on campus to find out about us and show students no matter what your political affiliation is, we want you to be active and participate in whatever party you belong to.”
The booth won three trophies, including the creativity award and best carnival booth. Lutomski said they plan on having a more impressive booth this year and hopes it will recruit new members and gain name recognition around campus.
Meetings next semester will be held in the New University Center’s Student Government Association Senate Chambers. The room offers state-of-the-art technology equipment, such an overhead projector, microphones, speakers and voting tablets at each chair for anonymous voting purposes.
“This is a project I have been dying to see finished so we can hold meetings in the swanky new rooms,” Lutomski said. “Catherine and I toured the Senate Chambers and thought they would be a perfect place to hold meetings. The New UC will be a hub for students to congregate, and we want our club to be present there.”
UH Democrats meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays.