The SVSU College Democrats and College Republicans hosted “politics and pastries” Monday, Oct. 18.
Abigail Sefcik, political science sophomore and the president of the College Republicans, said that the purpose of this event was to give students a chance to express their views on a pre-selected topic, outside of the classroom.
“A lot of times, students are raised to believe that there is a stigma behind being a member of one political party or another, but when the views of each political party are described, it gives students a chance to evaluate their beliefs and determine what best describes themselves, which was the purpose of the event,” Sefcik said. “We want to give students a chance to be involved civically, and at the end of the day, I believe the forum accomplished that goal.”
McClain Mercer, public administration junior and president of the College Democrats, said that the topic they chose to discuss this month was gun control policies.
“We pick one topic and discuss in a casual setting,” Mercer said. “This keeps it from a debate and allows it to remain civil.”
Sefcik said the event was set up as a forum rather than as a debate.
“In this open forum, students are free to share their beliefs without the fear of judgment,” Sefcik said. “University is the place where we should all be able to come to conclusions about our beliefs, without condemnation.”
Sefcik said she hoped that people were able to realize the benefit of knowing what the other side thought about a specific topic, and that the event also taught her some things.
“This event showed me the differences of opinions among students,” Sefcik said. “In politics, it is easy to whitewash people into one group or another and not to recognize their differences within those party lines, but what the event did for me was establish those different points of belief from within party lines. It’s also easy to think negatively about a group of people you don’t know, but when we have conversations in a polite and constructive way, that negativity has nowhere to hide.”
Mercer said this event helped him realize there are more students that enjoy talking about current events and are passionate about them across campus.
“I hope that our attendees and anyone that hears of it can see that people can get along regardless of their political party views and that we can have civil discussions about hot topics,” Mercer said.
Mercer said the two groups plan to host a “pastries and politics” event each month, discussing new topics.