The College Republicans is a national organization for college and university students who support the Republican Party of the United States. The organization is known as an active recruiting tool for the Republican Party and has produced many prominent Republican and conservative activists and introduced more party members to the Republican Party than any other organization in the nation.
In 2007, DePauw's College Republicans national charter was discontinued due to inactivity. But thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated students, the chapter is once again official. On the heels of that accomplishment, the group is organizing the DePauw Dash, a 5K race to benefit a U.S. soldier.
"We have roughly 70 members," said Sam Spahn, president of the DePauw College Republicans. "All we've been doing since September is basically recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. It's a lot like campaigning, just like a candidate would do."
Spahn, a sophomore political science and history major, wanted to reactivate the DePauw College Republicans because "there were a lot of students out there that wanted a voice."
"They wanted to express their Republican ideals," he said. "They were afraid to say anything, and they needed an outlet."
Spahn feels now is a very important time for the Republican Party.
"I felt (President Barack) Obama was a lovable candidate," he said. "Even I got caught up in his oration."
The number of DePauw students interested in joining the College Republicans surprised Spahn.
"DePauw is a liberal campus, and it shocked me," he said. "It's been interesting."
The DePauw Dash is slated for April 10. Through the Soldier's Angels organization, the DePauw College Republicans have "adopted" a soldier by the name of Michael Scaglione. Funds raised through the DePauw Dash will be used to put together care packages for Scaglione.
"(Scaglione) is in the Navy and is currently in Iraq," Spahn said. "But we don't know where he's from or any other details about him."
"We used to meet twice a month, but lately with DePauw Dash planning we've been meeting once a week," Spahn said. "I didn't realize the amount of work it would take, and there's also homework. Plus, I'm a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity."
Junior Hailee Newton is the secretary and treasurer of the DePauw College Republicans.
"The story of my involvement is actually quite funny," she said. "My roommates are Maggie Musgrave and Briana White, our vice president and publicist, so at the start of the new semester they needed a new treasurer. I am a math major, so Maggie thought I would be the best one for the job."
Once Newton started attending group meetings, her interest in the College Republicans blossomed.
"I loved it," she said. "It started as a favor to a friend, but I really enjoy doing it."
Registration for the DePauw Dash is $15 and must be completed by April 9. Participants can walk or run, and all who enter will receive an event T-shirt. The race will begin at 10 a.m. at DePauw's Blackstock Stadium.
Newton has enjoyed working on the event.
"When I came onto the team, tentative plans for the DePauw Dash were already in place, so we just needed to get the specifics in order," she said. "I love to do behind-the-scenes planning. Getting ready for this race has been fun for me."
More information about the DePauw Dash and the DePauw College Republicans can be found online at www.depauw.edu/student/orgs/republicans.