We the Students

Political clubs encourage students to get involved in politics

Jillian Dunlay, Reporter

Throughout the large variety of extracurricular activities at BV West, one prominent passion among students is politics. There are multiple opportunities for those students who are interested in politics to educate themselves and to broaden their political perspectives.

Junior State of America

Junior State of America (JSA) is a club that was just established in the 2019-2020 school year. The club encourages political awareness and participation among young Americans.
“JSA is a national organization,” said JSA President Payton Lujin. “We debate and discuss political topics, have speakers from the local government, and promote civic engagement.”

Lujin felt motivated to create a BV West chapter of JSA because of her own interest in politics, and she hopes to share this with her peers.
“CJ Pfanstiel and I established the club because we both have a passion for politics,” Lujin said. “[We] wanted to create a club that would provide an opportunity for others to discover their passion as well.”
According to the organization’s website, the JSA values consist of leadership, empowerment, accountability, diversity and inclusion. As a club member, students can exhibit these values through fun and engaging political activities.
“As a club member you get to participate in informal debates [and] hear from speakers,” Lujin said. “[You also] grow your overall understanding of politics and the government.”
While the club is new, Lujin hopes to see its membership grow in the years to come and urges students to get involved in JSA.
“Students should join because it’s important that everyone has an understanding of politics and government in order to be informed voters, which is essential in a democracy,” Lujin said. “It’s also a great way to hear different perspectives on issues and voice your opinion.”

JSA meets twice a month in room 370 during Jag session A. Students of all grade levels are welcome.

Rho Kappa

Rho Kappa is the National Social Studies Honor Society. The club provides high-achieving students a platform to pursue academic excellence in areas such as history, government and politics.

“Rho Kappa helps to get students involved in social studies related activities, which in turn can increase their political involvement,” said Rho Kappa Historian Brian Balquist. “By better understanding history and the social studies in general, Rho Kappa hopes to create well-rounded students, which also creates more educated students who hopefully vote.”

Rho Kappa has specific requirements that students must meet in order to become a member. Once a student is accepted into the society, they must earn a total of 15 points from completing Rho Kappa-approved activities to maintain membership.

“You must be an upperclassmen with good grades both overall and in your social studies courses,” Rho Kappa President CJ Pfanstiel said. “Once admitted into the society, members have the opportunity to come to meetings to learn more about history and to get involved with political campaigns, speaker visits, and other events Rho Kappa makes available.”

Although politics is not its sole focus, Rho Kappa makes a significant effort to foster political involvement in its members.

“Rho Kappa has slated significant political figures to come speak for Rho Kappa’s members, from Mr. Tenpenny, a Senator Roberts staff person to Congressional representative Sharice Davids,” Pfanstiel said. “We also move to promote political presented campaign activities, including a campaign for Congressional hopeful Amanda Adkins and in promoting volunteer opportunities.”

With its many different activities to develop a knowledge of social studies, Rho Kappa helps its members to hone a love of learning about history and government while making memories with their peers.

“Other students should join Rho Kappa because it’s fun,” Balquist said. “The meetings are light-hearted, the executive board is hardworking, and Rho Kappa can provide valuable experiences for anyone interested in social studies and politics.”

Rho Kappa meets frequently throughout the school year. Applications to join are closed for this school year, but interested sophomores and juniors may apply next year.