• Nick Saunchegraw

New Kids on the Block

I started the College Republican chapter at Spring Hill College in April of 2019, in the last few weeks of our school semester. Myself along with my co-founders Dominic Leccese, Anthony Popalardo, Jacob Morris, and Payton Hudson were floating around the idea of starting one and I was tasked with finding an advisor, which proved more difficult than I thought, until Payton and I found Mark Foster, an accounting professor at Spring Hill, who has been a huge life to our club and a tremendous help in getting us going. In a matter of weeks we were an official club on our campus. In the closing weeks of school, our advisor Mr. Foster set up a dinner for us, with Janey Whitney the Chair of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, Terry Lathan the Chair of the Alabama GOP, and David Sullivan the Chair of College Republicans at the University of South Alabama. This is where we were introduced to the CRFA, and after this meeting I took the initiative on getting our chapter chartered by the CRFA. Looking back on things I never would have imagined the club would take off this much after only starting it a few weeks before summer.

In today's world the word Republican has become a bad word, who would’ve thought that would happen right? Colleges and universities everywhere are becoming increasingly more liberal and pushing — or should I say forcing — their views on students. Being republican today is looked at as a sin from the liberal democratic party, and to them only their views matter. I started this club because I wanted to stand up for what I believe in. I have a strong passion for politics and was a key leader in the Young Republicans Club at my high school. I wanted to bring together a group of like-minded individuals who can feel free to share their ideas, so we can hold debates and so they can stand up for what they believe in as well.

When Janey threw out the idea of getting us chartered I was thinking it would be a long drawn out process that would carry into the next school year, but to my excitement she wanted to have us chartered by the end of the month of April 2019. The process was very straight forward and I had a lot of help with it. The CRFA needed from us a constitution, a member roster with at least ten names on it, an advisor as well as a letter from the advisor. Anthony was a big help in writing our constitution and after review from all of us founders I sent it over to the CRFA. Mr. Foster was quick in writing his letter for us and very eager to get the club moving as all of us were as well. In a matter of weeks we were voted in and after the news I couldn’t be more excited. The amount of stuff that happened from the starting date till I left for summer was unbelievable, the progress on our young club has been HUGE as one would say, hopefully we all know who that someone is.

I truly believe that the school will benefit from our club on campus, as much as they may not want us, we are proud and happy to be here. Holding debates and letting people calmly discuss their ideas is very beneficial to everyone, as well as holding speeches on campus from prominent people within the Republican Party. I think there are a lot of students on campus that are Republican but don’t want to admit it as well as a lot of people who just don’t know a lot about politics or the Republican party, and as a leader those groups are a big part of what I want to focus on, the right leaning moderates and the people without a big knowledge of politics. The more people we can reach and sway our way the stronger we can become. I believe understanding politics is essential no matter what field of study you are in. A huge part of what I want to do as a leader is grow our club and reach new people. As well as educate people on who we are and what the Republican Party is all about. I plan on working with David Sullivan and the University of South Alabama to bring a multitude of speakers to Mobile as well as hold debates for both of our clubs to reach more people. I also plan to be working closely with the other chapters in the CRFA and other clubs around the United States as well, to bring different events and fundraisers to get the campus involved in and also the community. Charity will also be a big focus and I plan on reaching out to charities in and around the Mobile area to set up fundraisers to benefit those charities, and a portion of the money we make from different events we have and speakers we host, will go to charity.

As great as this all sounds so far I expect to find challenges face me along the way as it is just a part of life. Some of those challenges I believe I will encounter are push back from the school and other students, being at a college that is largely liberal, being a Republican is sort of frowned upon these days. I encourage them to debate with me and discuss their ideas with me but in a calm and level-headed manner. We can have a conversation without screaming and violence. (Yeah, crazy right?) When faced with these issues I find it best to handle them respectfully and delicately. Another challenge I expect to face is getting a steady group of committed members, as it is a small school and mainly liberal. I want to reach as many people as I can, and like I said before, really target the people who are right leaning moderates, and the ones who don’t have a strong understanding of politics or the Republican party. Speaking on behalf of myself and my fellow co-founders we will weather the storm and will not back down when faced with adversity. I believe, with the help of my co-founders, I can light the torch for future leaders of our club, and keep it growing stronger and stronger for years to come.

Lastly I want to share my remarks about being the newest addition to the College Republican Federation of Alabama. (Yes, that means more reading so just bear with me.) The CRFA has been very welcoming. They have been easy and fun to work with. They were just as eager as I was for this club to get started and everything moved quickly and smoothly. Looking back at the progress we have made in such little time is outstanding and I’m very happy to be a part of it. I look forward to my time as a leader of this club. And I hope I am as good of a writer as I am a leader.

Peace and blessings,

Nick Saunchegraw

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