Growing Greens: California Campus Greens meet, discuss how to grow organization, reach voters.Leaders from the California Green Party appeared at the first ever California Campus Greens conference held at San Francisco State University Oct. 24 to 26 to stress the need for the student association to do well.
By Michael Morris
Grant Donnelly, president of the SF State Campus Greens and co-organizer of the event, was pleased, especially since the conference was suggested to Donnelly and co-organizer Rachel Rubin only two months ago. Eighty-five participants representing 12 California universities registered, and the actual turnout was about half that number.
"I think the conference was a success as it brought campuses and ideas together. The network will only continue to grow as we continue to get organized through the state infrastructure," said Donnelly.
Participating in a panel discussing the future of the party and the role of Campus Greens.were Peter Camejo, California Green Party candidate for governor; Laura Wells, former Green Party candidate for California Controller; as well as David Cobb, currently campaigning to be the Green Party's candidate for president.
Camejo, in town specifically to support the conference, said it was important to be there because the Green Party has received so much support from state campuses and youth in general. "They did a poll in Marin County, for instance, and 22 percent of the high-schoolers considered themselves Green. In the last election ... nine percent of people aged 18 to 29 voted Green, so figure at least half of the people who wanted to vote for us didn't, so that's almost 20 percent of the people of that age group wanting to vote Green."
"We want young people running for school boards and for city councils," Camejo said, "and to not be afraid at the age of 23 or 25 to go ahead and run for office and try to represent the interests of young people." Camejo was also on a panel of Green Party candidates and organizers
Robyn Oetinger, co-coordinator of the California Green Party Grassroots Organizing Working Group helps coordinate the activity of the Campus Greens organization. Oetinger said the conference was meant to organize the statewide efforts of campus activists by building a student grassroots organization.
"At our strategy session, each campus also made a commitment to reach out to other nearby campuses, whether they're universities, community colleges, or high schools, to get more chapters established," Oetinger added.
Donnelly said he was looking forward to a "bit of a break" when the conference concluded on Sunday, but added that there was still a lot work to do. "With the Matt Gonzalez campaign for mayor in full swing and the election right on the horizon, I think we'll do all that we can to outreach on campus as he is a Green and has a shot at winning."
Michael Morris is Technology Editor for The Golden Gate [X]Press Online, a publication of the Journalism Department of San Francisco State University. This article first appeared on the website www.xpress.sfsu.edu on November 6, 2003.
(Next Campus Greens conference - University of Southern California, February 2004. Contact Ben Beatty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 361-8332 for details.)
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