Pizza and Politics at Chaminade University

Pizza and Politics at Chaminade University

Students gather to listen to political representative, Debi Hartmann, as she addresses the importance of political involvement.

SM Webster

To kick off the upcoming 2012-2013 Chaminade Student Government Association (CSGA) elections, the CSGA held its second Pizza and Politics event on April 25, where Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz addressed about fifty students regarding the importance of student awareness in politics within the school, as well as outside the Chaminade community.

Chaminade president, Bro. Bernie, along with the CSGA president, Alex San Nicolas, welcomed Lt. Gov. Schatz with their speeches, while the incumbent president for fall semester, Kaipo Leopoldino, preformed a traditional Hawaiian welcoming chant with fellow student, Lei Ui Kaholokula.

“The (first) event was successful in gathering students to engage more with local leaders here in Hawaii,” San Nicolas, 21, said. “This event, students gained more insight on political processes.”

With the political campaigns of the US government in the forefront of news this year, the CSGA decided that they too wanted to begin stressing the importance of political awareness to the students at Chaminade.

The Pizza & Politics events at Chaminade began March 5, where students gathered to listen to representatives from both Republican and Democratic parties who spoke on the same political issues that Schatz expressed at this event.

Debi Hartmann from the Democratic party and David Chang from the Republican party said that even though they were often posed as “rivals”, they came to Chaminade for one purpose; to discuss student involvement in politics.

The politicians expressed to the Chaminade student body that our age group makes up the biggest percentage of Hawaii’s population. Yet, we are not involved in the voting process.

Lt. Gov. Schatz said that this is the biggest problem. He stated that cumulatively, students have the power to determine impacting decisions on the government but seem to be unaware of the impact they could have.

“It’s not so much that they’re not interested, there’s just not so much a demand for them to be involved in politics,” said Terrance Leslie, 20, a sophomore at Chaminade.

However, the demand for student involvement will be tested.

At this time Congress is in the act of deliberating over a document stating that tuition of college students will rise.

If Congress does not act, subsidized student loan rates will double and students will be facing a heavy burden of debt, which may take years to recover from.

“You don’t have to care about politics and you don’t have to like politicians,” Schatz said. “ …and you don’t have to be a registered Democrat or Republican or a liberal to know that you don’t want to pay double for a student loan rates.”

Chaminade students seemed engaged during Schatz’s speech. A few students asked about his role as Lieutenant Governor, and many questions were posed about new railway system on the island. However, no questions were asked about the increasing loan rate.

“I didn’t know about it and a lot of other people I know don’t know about it,” said Katrina Garcia, 22, a senior at Chaminade. “If people are interested in the topic, they are in the closet about it. Personally, I’m not interested in it and for the people I hang out with it’s not something that we talk about. I’m just glad I’m graduating.”

San Nicolas concluded the event saying that he hopes the new CSGA would continue the tradition of getting students to participate with their government with similar or more engaging events. He felt it was critical in assuring that students become more involved with our community in the future.

“You’re not preparing anymore,” Schatz said. “The time is now to be politically engaged. You’re not in some kind of separate training program until you figure out yourself. … It’s now. You just have to engage.”