LGBT rights. Campaign finance reform. Healthcare as a right for all. All these phrases and more surrounded the name “Canes for Bernie” on a whiteboard Tuesday night in the Ungar building. Students gathered to learn about presidential hopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Canes for Bernie, a group of students advocating for Sanders’s presidency, officially kicked off its presence on campus with an info session. Flyers listing and detailing Sanders’s platform were given to participants.
The meeting began with the event organizers asking visitors to write the issues that mattered most to them on a whiteboard. Sophomore Lucas Baker, one of the meeting’s organizers, said the issues listed represent what Sanders stands for.
“Bernie is a guy who’s against big-money politics,” Baker said. “He wants free education, medicare and healthcare for all. He’s a great candidate for people’s empowerment, responsible government and doing right by the people.”
Throughout the meetings, the organizers asked for people to help out however they can to promote Canes for Bernie, including volunteering, designing logos and calling people in the local community to spread the word about Sanders. The group aims to work closely with University of Miami Young and College Democrats to get the word out.
“We plan to enrich the student population by letting them know that there’s a candidate that’s really fighting for youth interests,” Baker said.
Canes for Bernie hopes to increase young voter participation on campus. According to the group, empathy among millennials has been lacking.
“There’s a culture of it being okay not to care,” Baker said. “It’s not cool to hand off your voting power to someone who does not have your interests at heart. You need to advocate for your interests.”
As the group becomes more active on campus, donations may come its way. Canes for Bernie keeps in contact with regional pro-Sanders groups that may donate yard signs, shirts, buttons, stickers and more if Canes for Bernie gains popularity.
“The swag will help us get Bernie’s name out there and run a good volunteer base to get the message out,” Baker said.