A new student political organization is forming at PVCC!
PVCC student Mara Cox took a “Women in American History” course from Prof. Jennifer Tomas in Fall 2022 and, in a class discussion, was really surprised how many of her classmates didn’t realize there was an election coming up that year (didn’t follow current events much at all). Though political decisions impact almost every aspect of students’ lives, from housing costs and food insecurity to health care and transportation, and understanding of the world, most of her classmates were intimidated by politics and political discussion. And in an unrelated Geology Club author event, Timefullness author Marcia Bjornerud emphasized that addressing climate change and other challenges requires scientists to get involved in politics, and politicians willing to learn and value science.
Putting those two threads together, Mara decided to plunge into political work herself, and that was the beginning of Rally PVCC.
Though the club will be welcoming to all, the three founding officers all personally fall on the progressive end of the political spectrum:
- Mara Cox (co-President) – Mara, now 33, was working in the food service industry before illness and pandemic boredom led her to start reading about evolution, which led to a passion for geology that brought her to college (at age 31) to study geology and hopefully go on to teach geology at the community college level. She started the Geology Club at PVCC, which is now the most popular student club on campus!
- Justin Roberts — Justin is a member of Charlottesville DSA who’s done anti-eviction work with its Housing Justice Committee (canvassing tenants facing eviction, court watch, etc.). That work, particularly talking 1:1 with the housing insecure, has galvanized his desire to build working power in Cville. He’ll be attending VCU in the fall.
The group is now chartered by PVCC, with Prof. Tomas as faculty advisor. They’re planning to hold an event in late April or early May (maybe even a City Council candidate forum!?), while school is still in session, to build some momentum for a big launch soon after Fall semester begins.Their focus over the past 5 months has been soliciting opinions from other students about the mission and structure of the organization. That process is still ongoing, but a general concept has started to gel; a club without partisan labels, litmus tests, or any set agendas that would help educate students about political issues and encourage students to become more civically engaged in their communities (Charlottesville) and in the political process. To do this, the club would be a safe space where any student who was interested in learning more about issues could come and engage with other students (and potentially outside community members) in a safe space.Please reach out to Rally PVCC at email@example.com if:
- Emily Moss (co-President) — Emily was born and raised on California’s Central Coast, where she was active in local politics. She previously attended design school and worked in product design and brand/media consulting, but her passions for climate justice, human rights advocacy, and politics in general have led her to “switch gears”; she’s attending PVCC to earn general credits to transfer to UVA and then plans to attend law school!
The Cville Dems are looking forward to working with these very sharp and energetic founders to help build a vibrant student organization at PVCC. We’re confident that, as its members learn more the serious issues we’re all confronting, they’ll find themselves largely aligned with Democratic Party values and policy prescriptions.Note– shoutout to PVCC student Torrance Malone for connecting us with this group!
- you or a friend/family member might be interested in keeping informed about their events and programs
- if you’d be willing to act as a community resource for them (e.g. as a potential speaker, or advisor to students in an area you’re knowledgeable about, etc.)