The Students’ Union recently sanctioned Wildrose On Campus, a partisan club that hopes to mobilize students for a political party that has seen substantial growth in recent years.
The WROC is part of a province-wide push from the Wildrose Party to increase its support amongst youth in Alberta. At the moment, the Wildrose lacks the large youth wings held by the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals in Alberta.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement and willingness to engage with young people, but the party is still too young to have effectively done that,” WROC president Christopher Bell said.
Bell said he hopes to be involved with the party, which he sees ending the PC’s long rule in the next provincial election.
“For the first time, I would say, in about 20 years, Alberta has a legitimate shot at seeing a change in government,” Bell said. “By the 2016 election, the PCs will have held government for over 46 years. I think a shake up would be exciting.”
WROC vice-president events Keean Bexte shared Bell’s enthusiasm.
“We’re really excited for 2016 when the next election comes,” Bexte said. “We want a student base for the party and we want to build its youth wing here on campus.”
But Bell said the club is about more than just winning an election. He sees it becoming a vital part of the university’s political scene.
“I think, for a long time, the U of C has lacked representation for this side of student opinion,” Bell said. “I know a lot of students are interested in the party and what’s going on in Alberta politics.”
He added that he thinks students will warm to the party’s love of referendums and stress on fiscal responsibility.
The club had the required 30 members needed to be sanctioned by the SU in October. After submitting their request, the club was sanctioned later in November.
Partisan clubs have struggled at the U of C in recent years. After briefly folding, the Campus Greens were re-sanctioned this year.
The WROC will hold their first general meeting in January.