SAU Buzz

Campus politics: The upcoming election year

by Ryan Sandness
Posted on Sep 13, 2019

The 2020 presidential campaign is fast approaching with hopeful candidates coordinating their efforts to reach out to voters.  

St. Ambrose students will see an increased interest in politics as this academic year progresses due to the election. Though the election is a year away, and the caucuses are five months away, political activity will sweep Iowa soon since it is an important swing state during elections.  

Iowa has the distinction of holding caucuses instead of primaries to better connect with voters. A certain amount of strategy goes into a presidential campaign, and candidates tend to pay more attention to certain states. Because Iowa is one of the first states to vote, Ambrosians will see multiple campaigns at work before voting truly begins with single candidate forums.  

Craig DeVrieze, director of communications at SAU, said it benefits students more than they realize. 

“The caucuses are a unique opportunity for us to expose students to the electoral process,” DeVrieze said. “They are able to see differing thoughts and ideas, which is really the role of education.” 

DeVrieze believes these university events complement the university experience. 

“Universities are places where ideas come to be born. Students have an opportunity to learn about something important,” he said. “You come to a university to learn, and this is a great way to get educated.” 

This is the first presidential campaign that DeVrieze will take part in as director of communications. Throughout the process, St. Ambrose will collaborate with their media partner, the Quad-City Times. Through this, students can observe and participate in a national activity, which DeVrieze sees as a valuable opportunity for the students. 

“We do these events because we see the value for students to engage in the system, to see the process in action, get a better understanding of how leaders are chosen and how they respond to the occasional hard question,” DeVrieze said. 

Candidates who visit St. Ambrose for any political forum are asked to bring multiple, fresh ideas to discuss. They have to contact the facilities manager on campus, Sophia Pierce, to walk through their setup for the forum. 

Iowa has been a highly influential state for electoral votes in multiple past elections. Barack Obama carried Iowa in the 2008 and 2012 elections as Donald Trump did in 2016.

“Candidates spend upwards of 12 months in Iowa,” DeVrieze said. “We’re certainly part of the process. It’s great to see candidates wanting to talk to the student demographic. It’s exciting and refreshing...They really get a dose of perspective on certain issues.” 

St. Ambrose does not endorse any political ideology or stance. Likewise, they do not promote any position of any candidate.