The Coffee Party is not a group of Starbucks addicts or running on Dunkin, but rather a new nonpartisan political organization getting started on campus.
Charlie Giger, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and the group’s founder at Marquette, said the group’s purpose is to expand the conversation pertaining to contemporary ethical and political issues from a moderate perspective.
Giger said the idea of starting a Marquette Coffee Party was born in November of last year when he realized combining philosophical ideals and political motives was something students may appreciate.
“We strive for the middle,” Giger said. “We’re an inclusive group that’s all about moderation.”
The Coffee Party presents five main goals, including “exhibiting political activism in its original form,” and the ability to “empathize and engage with one another, exercising humility, listening, honesty and respect, in order to provide an emotionally safe environment even when we disagree,” according to the organization’s website.
The Coffee Party at Marquette currently has 16 members, but Giger believes the number will steadily rise.
“I haven’t encountered any criticisms,” Giger said. “People seem really excited and interested about this new group.”
John McAdams, a Marquette professor of political science, said the organization resembles a debate society in the sense that issues will be presented and discussed. Nevertheless, he added that the organization’s ideals clearly differ from other political groups.
“I doubt the College Democrats or the College Republicans fear that they are going to lose any members to this new ‘party,’” McAdams said.
Giger added that he plans to promote political involvement both within his organization and in others as well.
“We plan to encourage our members to be active on campus,” Giger said. “We want to establish a presence at other groups’ events.”
The Coffee Party plans to meet regularly to discuss philosophical and political readings, volunteer at Milwaukee institutions and fundraise.
Ka Yong Lim, a member of the group and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she looks forward to political discussion and examining the ethical perspective among the members of the group.
“More importantly, after two years of observing the intense tug-of-war between the College Democrats and College Republicans on campus, I am happy the Coffee Party offers the solution to students who want to be politically active and to arrive at real solutions without the prejudice of partisanship,” Lim said.
Giger added that his main pool of students tends to be individuals who may not have had the time to become informed on political issues or just weren’t sure which way to lean.
“I draw from people with different majors,” Giger said. “A lot of people think it’s a great idea because political groups on campus scare people away. This group just wants to bring people together to inform, because that’s where conversations start.”
Lim said thus far, the Coffee Party is the only group on campus to solely focus on discourse and dialogue regarding political issues.
“We would like to get students informed about the state of global political affairs without resorting to solutions offered only by extreme ends of the political spectrum,” Lim said. “We want to get people talking and thinking, all in moderation.”