YDSA make their voices heard through direct action


GVL Archives

Clémence Daniere, Staff Writer

The Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), is one of the primary leftist organizations on campus. This club is a college subsection and student-based iteration of the national chapter. Their personal mission is to bring a sense of solidarity to campus and help the people who need it most in the Grand Valley State University community. 

“We give a voice to other people on campus who are underrepresented,” said Drew Bochenek, a senior at GVSU. 

Last year, the club started getting heavily involved throughout the community. Their time and effort is volunteered to help organizations such as Justice for Black Lives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the community through education, awareness and support. 

Another organization, LOVE (Let Our Voices Echo) has been heavily involved with YDSA in order to help the unhoused population in downtown Grand Rapids. This help was provided through donations, fundraisers and meal drops. 

Recently, the group has also been involved with fundraising for causes like gender-affirming surgery for black trans youth. Additionally, last Saturday, Oct. 2, YDSA attended a protest defending the right to choose to receive an abortion, and the right to personal autonomy, which are causes they strongly support. These actions have helped establish YDSA as a community-oriented organization devoted to helping those around them. 

In addition to weekly volunteer events, the club also meets every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Kirkhof 1142. This meeting is open to anyone who is genuinely interested in leftism and wants to donate their time and effort to help social causes around them. There is no requirement for attendance as well. 

The YDSA prides itself on being a diverse and dynamic club, in which anyone can feel welcome and heard. Compared to other political clubs on campus, which have started and ended, YDSA has stood the test of time and made a name for themselves within the GVSU community 

“We are very action-based and I think that differentiates us from other organizations on campus,” Bochenek said.

Aside from direct action, the YDSA also engages in open discussions with the community, excluding topics such as political ideologies, debating or fighting. 

“We’re here to promote leftist actions and help the community rather than debating people,” said Andrew Ferguson, the financial officer for YDSA. 

The club has faced backlash due to their leftist political ideologies but wants to make it known that they are simply an umbrella organization that has left-leaning political ideologies. 

In order to broaden positive community involvement, the YDSA also has a monthly publication, “The Rose Thorn.” This publication features student writers within and outside of the club, as well as contributions from members of the local community. 

Upcoming events for YDSA include “Expose Campus Dining,” a discussion-based event that will commentate on the recent shortage of student workers, analyze Aramark, the food supplier for GVSU, and take into consideration what steps can be taken to change the dining experience on campus. 

This event will be opened by Professor LaGuardia-LoBianco, a researcher and educator in Feminist Philosophy, Ethics, Moral Psychology and Philosophy of Psychiatry. Other clubs, such as the Latino Student Union, will also be taking part in this dialogue. 

Although not a credited GVSU club, the Students for Food Sovereignty, has been the main driver behind this event and hopes to make their voices heard. The administration at GVSU has maintained a harsh stance against them throughout their fight for a better campus dining experience. 

After the discussion, willing attendees and various club members will attend the Student Senate general assembly in an attempt to make their voices stand out. The goal will be to fill up the public comment section of the assembly with as many student opinions and stories as possible. 

This event will not only attempt to make campus dining a better experience for students, but will also educate students that they are allowed to protest these issues since their tuition directly funds campus dining.

This will be YDSA’s first collaborative event with SFS. If interested, the event will take place on Thursday, Oct. 7 from 3:30 to 4:30 in room 2263 in Kirkhof. RSVP is available on LakerLink.