Colgate’s Resident College Democrat: Bryn Luedde

Interested in learning more about voting and current political issues facing Colgate’s campus and the wider Hamilton community? Talk to junior Bryn Luedde — she is dedicated to encouraging students, faculty and Hamilton residents to engage in politics through her leadership role for the Colgate College Democrats. In addition to leading this political club, Luedde is concentrating in political science and is the captain of the Women’s Club Water Polo team, an activity she enjoys as a social outlet where she has met many people with similar interests. Although she grew up in Pittsburgh, she has family roots in upstate New York and has always seen this region as a second home that she is dedicated to serving in the form of political activism. Luedde and her family’s affinity for this region and desire for a traditional college campus led her and her brother, first-year Cooper Luedde, to Colgate. Luedde described how her family’s political participation and her community’s involvement has shaped her passion for politics.

“I was raised in a politically involved family. My mom was out canvasing a lot, that was how I was brought up. I loved it, I think there’s something really cool about community organizing. People were always very politically involved and always talked about politics.”

Luedde has been involved with the Colgate College Democrats since the beginning of her college career when she joined the club as a first-year. When asked about why she was drawn to this club and has dedicated her time to further developing its membership, Luedde noted the significance of political participation in a politically competitive region like Hamilton and her desire to connect with the student body.

“Colgate is in the most competitive House district in 2020 in the entire country, and the most expensive. We lost the seat [in 2020] by a little over a hundred votes but there is also a lot of energy and excitement here that doesn’t really get represented in how the campus talks about politics,” Luedde said. “What drew me to the Colgate College [Democrats] was wanting to get my peers more involved and more informed in the process because it’s so important, specifically here in Hamilton because it’s so competitive.”

After conveying her motivation for being so heavily involved in the club, Luedde also elaborated about the various responsibilities she has in her leadership role and discussed some of the club’s many programming initiatives.

“Before I was the chair, I was our campaigns director during the 2020 cycle. I was managing our phone bank, volunteering, as well as our outreach with Hamilton Democrats, which is the town and village council. We are also part of a state federation, College Democrats of New York, so as a chapter, we have responsibilities to that state federation. We also participate in a national council; National Elections for College Democrats. My role as chair is one foot on the campus and one foot out, focusing on our programming and our speakers and our meetings are a big part of it. Also, part of it is connecting with other chapters in New York and forming a network with other presidents because a lot of the issues we are working on have a lot of similarities.”

The club’s extensive programming and networking efforts provide a resource base that circulates information about the political process and issues that concern specific regions and constituents. Given all of the club’s efforts, why is it so important that people are politically involved? Luedde discussed, specifically on Colgate’s campus, the importance of participating not just during election years, but every year.

“Colgate students know about the importance of voting but civic participation goes beyond that. Something our organization is trying to encourage is that participation in the political process happens during off years and during midterms — it’s about showing up on election day but going beyond that and informing yourself on the issues and what’s happening to know what your elected representatives have done for you. I think the apathy that Colgate students feel toward politics is because it’s been really contentious but it is a factor of privilege in a lot of cases. As a community we can do a better job of saying even if this issue doesn’t directly affect my life it still affects the people around me, and that deserves a response.” 

In this way, Luedde invests a considerable amount of time, thought and effort in leading the Colgate College Democrats and encouraging more political participation within the campus and community.