Rather than being a place for campus Republicans to praise their politicians and criticize left-wing politics, Geneseo's chapter of College Republicans is very welcoming of all political ideologies. “We want people with differing opinions to come ... We want them there so we can discuss issues, not just agree with each other [on whatever the matter may be],” senior Isaac Baskin, the president of Geneseo's chapter of College Republicans, said.
College Republicans, Baskin said, caters to the Republican and Conservative political campaigns. While this does mean that the club will most likely never help a Democrat campaign for office, it doesn't mean the club is completely closed-minded; instead, dissenting perspectives are welcomed rather than shunned.
“I appreciate both sides of [an] opinion, [and] every issue is up for debate,” Baskin said. “We want differing opinions; we want debate; we want an open exchange of ideas.”
Geneseo's chapter was not always so eager for debate, however, and has drastically evolved over the past three years. Baskin said that back in his freshman year in the fall of 2010, the club consisted of only six people in a boardroom, talking about what Republicans they liked and how they each felt on certain political issues.
“I rose up at one of those meetings and said, 'This is not okay. We all agree with each other: We think that what we think is great, but we need to expand the club,'” Baskin said.
Now, the club's meetings have anywhere from 20 to 30 people in attendance, even during testing weeks, and club members are even meeting famous republicans like Speaker of the House John Boehner and U.S. Rep. Chris Collins.
“We have become influential in New York state,” said Baskin, who reported that Geneseo's chapter of College Republicans has, as of this year, grown to be the largest chapter in the entire state. “We've gotten to the point where we've even been discussing forming a conservative newspaper on campus … [The club has] evolved immensely.”