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February 23, 2016

Students Launch Newsletter Tracking Local Politics

Earlier this month, the University of Chicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI), an RSO committed to increasing student and community involvement in the political process, launched a newsletter in order to increase awareness about the actions of local elected representatives. The newsletter is published on a weekly basis and sent out each Monday.

This project began autumn quarter when co-founders fourth-year Sam Zacher, fourth-year Alex Serratelli, and second-year Adam Reynolds noticed a gap in students’ awareness of the activities of lawmakers. The University of Chicago Democracy Initiative was created in order to fill this gap.

The UCDI’s weekly Citizen Bulletin newsletter, which was modeled after the Politico Playbook, helps keep readers up-to-date on the workings of city, county, state, and national politics. This newsletter currently has a readership of about fifty subscribers and, according to co-founder Sam Zacher, has received very positive feedback. The UCDI hopes to increase readership both on campus and throughout the Hyde Park community.

Some of the UCDI’s other projects include the Get Out The Vote initiative and the UChicago Community Issue Awareness video series.

The Get Out The Vote project hopes to increase voter turnout and participation. By working with the Institute of Politics (IOP), the UCDI hopes to increase TurboVote voter registration on campus and throughout the Hyde Park community, in addition to providing updates on upcoming elections and events. TurboVote is a national project that aims to help citizens register to vote.

The UChicago Community Issue Awareness video series hopes to educate viewers on relevant political topics such as low-voter turnout, money in politics, and gerrymandering. These videos are released through the UCDI’s website; the first video includes a survey on students’ thoughts about voting.

Editor’s Note: Sam Zacher is a former Maroon editor.

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