Interview with College Democrats President Diva Patel

College Democrats President Diva Patel.
University Communications

Diva Patel, College Democrats President, double majoring in political science and cell biology, molecular biology, and biomedical sciences was looking forward to meeting with the Vanguard on Friday.

First talking about the overall national organization of College Democrats.

“The intention of a college Dem group differs [from University to University]. I think in general, all of us are just really enthusiastic about being the representatives of the Democratic Party on our individual campuses.”

Then speaking on SVSU’s uniqueness, Patel elaborated further.

“With SVSU, what I really want to do is help. Help get candidates on the local, state, and federal levels who align with our values and align with the Democratic Party elected,” she said. “But there is also an internal flip side to it, by virtue of making sure that students get internships on campaigns and jobs in official political offices. Anything that we can do to help support our party, but also support students’ growth.”

She mentioned how her political alignment had started young.

“I guess I realized that I was a Democrat in the eighth grade

when I was watching the Democratic and Republican primaries,” she said. “This was 2016, and that was something like a lot of people’s political awakening. My freshman year at SVSU was in 2020, during COVID. There was no college dems chapter that was active on campus, so in the second semester of my freshman year, I became vice president with the support of many others, and the next fall semester, I became president since then.”

When Patel was asked what she would be willing to share with the Vanguard about a few of her past projects she said:

“Teamwork is in everything we do. We started at the beginning of 2022 kind of still figuring ourselves out as an organization and that was an election year,” she said. “SVSU is in such a great location that we can have really great relationships with the Saginaw Democratic Party or Saginaw County Democratic Party, Bay County Democratic Party, and the Midland County Democratic Party.”

Patel continued, stating “This whole area has a Tri-City mindset, which is really helpful in networking because a lot of other areas don’t have that.”

When speaking on Gretchen Whitmer’s visit to campus last April, Patel shared the inside scoop on how planning the event went down.

“We were asked by Christine Moll, who was formerly the chair of the Saginaw County Democratic Party, but at the time was working in the governor’s office, if it may be doable. Of course, I said ‘yes, absolutely,’ right away. She already had been to other campuses, so why couldn’t she come to Saginaw Valley?”

She elaborated on how it was started.

So, she [the Governor] reached out, she also spoke to the Government Relations & Community Affairs office,” she said. “Overall, it was a huge collaborative effort, and then from there we also started to get other elected officials on board, but a lot of that was Christine.

She also talked about Congressman Kildee, who made two separate appearances at SVSU last school year.

“Congressman Kildee came, Representative O’Neill, who serves the Saginaw County area in the Michigan State House, Vanessa Guerr, Saginaw County Clerk was there, as well as Dr. Pugh who’s on the State Board of Education. Christine and a bunch of other people kind of brought them on board.”

She then talked about what her part in all of it was.

“My principal responsibility in that whole event was finding space, which was incredibly stressful because I was like, ‘where do I, bring the governor of Michigan?” she said. “We

College Democrats President Diva Patel. University Communications

had our little college Dems table outside of the event because I wanted to put all of our stuff there because that was about five days away from Election Day.”

When reflecting on her time at SVSU, Patel was happy to express her appreciation for the support she received in her studies.

“It’s not just my friends and the people in my classes, but also a lot of the faculty and staff here have been instrumental in shaping who I am and my career,” she said. “I’m really grateful for anyone who’s involved with the SVSU community at large, regardless of whether they work or go to school on this campus. They’ve all played a role in kind of who I am right now, thank you for all the opportunities I’m really appreciative of everyone.”

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