Bryn Luedde: Behind the Scenes with Democracy Matters

Bryn Luedde: Behind the Scenes with Democracy Matters

Sophomore Bryn Luedde, a Pittsburgh, Pa native, has always considered Central New York a second home. Now in her second year living in Hamilton, she serves as the President for Colgate’s chapter of Democracy Matters, a national organization of students that advocate getting big money out of politics and ensuring that all voters have a voice.

“I love working with [Democracy Matters] because it does a great job of teaching people to be political organizers and advocates for their communities, which is a skill you can apply to whatever you’re passionate about,” she said. “It has also given me a great community of smart and passionate students from around the country to connect to, which has been especially valuable during this pandemic.”

With the election coming up on Nov. 3, Luedde has been heavily involved in improving both voter turnout and voter education on campus. According to Luedde, a big part of the historically low voter turnout at Colgate has to do with the complications involving absentee ballots and voting by mail. It is clear Luedde is focused on improving education about voting by mail among Colgate students through Democracy Matters.

“This semester, we have been focused on educating our peers on how and when to request and complete these kinds of ballots. It is also important that new voters get familiar with what races they are actually voting in, especially down-ballot races that usually get less attention,” Luedde said. 

While Democracy Matters focuses on taking money out of politics, Luedde emphasized that its bigger directive is to help people understand and get involved. As the leader of this Colgate organization, Luedde wants to include everyone.

“Even if you think you don’t know enough to talk about politics, your opinion still matters,” she said. “Everyone is always welcome to participate in our meetings and events!”

Luedde attributes aspects of her personality to her roots in Pittsburgh. The oldest of three siblings and the only daughter, she had to be a leader within her family, embodying the grit of Pittsburgh as the first kid to go off on her own. Luedde’s leadership is evident, trailblazing at Colgate with her voice and position in Democracy Matters.

Since Luedde’s first year at Colgate got cut short by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she still feels as if she’s finding her place on campus. Having yet to declare a concentration, Luedde is confident her academic path will involve political science. She also loves history, writing and economics. 

It’s evident that Luedde is passionate about politics and, most importantly, serving others. On top of being the president of Colgate’s Democracy Matters club and an intern for the national organization, Luedde is an active member of the Colgate College Democrats and a member of the Women’s Club Water Polo team. 

When asked what she envisions herself doing in the distant future, Luedde responded noting that her future goals change day-to-day, but she’s confident they revolve around politics, policy and helping others.

“I know there are many career paths I can take from Colgate, but right now I think I would really like to work for a nonprofit or lobbying firm dedicated to fighting for reproductive justice and women’s rights globally,” she said.

Even though she holds a leadership position in Democracy Matters, Luedde still considers herself to be more of a “behind the scenes” person. However, she mentioned a possible future in the spotlight.

“Who knows, maybe I will run for office someday.”

Regardless of which path Luedde chooses, her presence at Colgate is unmatched as she advocates for students to use their voices and opinions in elections to make change.