CGS Students Launch The Politica
As classes shifted to a remote format last spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic 2020 election season loomed, two CGS students used their time in quarantine to create a new student organization. Ferren Winarto (CGS’21, CAS’23) and Laila Inan (CGS’21, QST’23 & CAS’23) launched The Politica, a non-partisan academic global affairs club that uses both an online publication and a podcast to provide space for meaningful political conversations among students.
Winarto and Inan met in one of their CGS classes, where they bonded over their mutual interest in philosophy, politics, and global affairs. They saw the need to create a place where students can have political conversations both within BU and around the Boston area.
“We were discussing the lack of intellectually stimulating conversation amongst our peers and how we yearned for meaningful and thought-provoking conversations on a daily basis,” Inan says of how the idea for the club came to be. “We thought that creating an organization that would serve to do that would attract the attention of students on campus that felt similarly.”
When BU shifted to remote classes during the spring semester, the pair had to adapt as Winarto was in Indonesia, while Inan was in the U.S. They had to meet either in the early morning or late at night, but quarantine allowed them the time they needed to create the new organization.
This August, The Politica held its first major event, a virtual Town Hall for the MA-4 House of Representatives candidates, where students were able to hear about each candidate’s policies ahead of the primary election.
“What really struck us as a group was the fact that we had used our resources and our strong social media presence to mobilize voter registration for the upcoming elections,” Winarto said. “We are thrilled to have wrought a positive impact within the local area and to the wider BU community through this Congressional series, and the onus is on us to maintain the momentum for our first official semester.”
Winarto and Inan have a variety of goals for The Politica, including covering other races, publishing research, working on their podcast, and reaching out to other universities around the world.
Winarto says they plan to host international speakers and also hope to engage in collaborative, joint episodes with other organizations within BU and externally with other schools.
Both Winarto and Inan credit CGS with helping them dive deeper into subjects that they are not majoring in and reminding them to think critically from different perspectives.
“Being able to sit in a class that is intentionally designated to make you think about the events and words for what they were, context, and their full impact; then use that to create meaningful analyses; and then engage in these ideas with one another in discussion sections was really unique and great to the CGS experience,” Inan said.
Winarto notes that, “CGS has allowed me to delve deeper into other subjects not necessarily related to the study of politics or International Affairs. The curriculum inspired Laila and myself to draw in interdisciplinary academic components and apply them to the conversations about global affairs.”
— By Natalie Seara