The College Democrats have had a long and proud history at the University of Southern California dating back to almost the founding of the University itself. The first recorded instance of our club was in 1912 when Trojans rallied around the candidacy of New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson for President. In the 1920's, Trojans once again gathered to support the 1920 ticket of Governor James Cox of Ohio and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
However, it wasn’t until the late 1940's and 1950's that the club began to attain prominence. During this time, members who reinvigorated the club later became some of California’s biggest political influences. These members included Jesse M. Unruh, who went on to become Speaker of the California State Assembly, the late Joe Cerrell, political consultant to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and current Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian.
While the Club has changed names several times over the course of the decades (the Wilsonites, the Cox-Roosevelt Club, Trojan Democrats, until finally the USC College Democrats) it has consistently been a force of political activism and engagement on this campus. As a result, USC has drawn many notable figures to speak, including then-Senator John F. Kennedy, President Gerald Ford, President Barack Obama, and Senator Al Franken.
Though USC carries a stereotype of being a center-right campus, there are actually more registered Democrats than Republicans since the mid-1990s under University President Steven B. Sample. In recent years, the USC College Democrats have fought to elect Democrats on almost every government level. Students for Barack Obama (later named Trojans for Obama), a sister organization founded in 2008, was the largest club on campus in USC history. In 2012 alone, the USC College Democrats placed thousands of calls for President Barack Obama and other major Democratic candidates.
If you are an alumnus of the USC College Democrats and have any stories, pictures, or information to share about our organization's history, email us (uscdems at gmail.com) and let us know! We'd love to add as much as we can to our profile of the USC College Democrats' history.
Now that you know our history, let’s make history together. Join our team.
Previous E-Board Members
CATHERINE SHIEH, PRESIDENT FALL 2013
Cat Shieh is a Political Science and Urban Planning geek and hails from the wondrous Bay Area (yay area!). She has a passion for education and state politics and first got involved in high school by interning for a California State Assemblymember. She has since worked on several city campaigns, a campaign finance firm, Congressman Michael M. Honda's office in DC, and recently returned the nonprofit arena. Cat was previously the Financial Director for the College Democrats and is an active member of her pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. She has been featured in several women's conferences, was a panelist alongside education reformer Michelle Rhee, and wrote a blog series for California Forward. If you don’t see her around campus, it’s probably because she is either working at USC’s Unruh Institute or is gushing about Congressman Honda. Upon graduation, she will be joining the 2014 Teach for America corps in Los Angeles.
AARON TAXY, PRESIDENT 2012-2013
Aaron Taxy grew up in Oakland, CA as a member of traditional Jewish family. Having been enriched with the Jewish value of collective responsibility, Aaron associated with the Democratic Party as early as the 2000 presidential elections. After working extensively on issue-advocacy in high school, Aaron was excited to affect broader social change at USC - so he naturally joined USC College Democrats his first week on campus. In 2012, Aaron was elected as club President. During his term he oversaw the club's 2012 election activities and organized phone banks, debates, and political canvassing for Barack Obama and Democratic candidates around California. He also spearheaded initiatives to promote greater Democratic camaraderie at USC such as two canvassing trips to Las Vegas and several parties. Aaron is still a proud member of USC College Democrats and enjoys his advisory role as President Emeritus.
JAMES DREVNO, FINANCE DIRECTOR 2013-2014
James Drevno grew up in San Diego, also known as “America’s Finest City,” or, “the City of Incorruptible Politicians and Successful Baseball Teams.” He is currently a sophomore majoring in Policy, Planning, and Development as well as minoring in Construction Planning and Management. With an emphasis in Sustainable Planning, he is fascinated in many policy areas, including urban and transportation policy, as well as economic development. You will often find James reading up on municipal governance strategies, policy journals, and local politics. When he’s not studying, he enjoys long political conversations in the moonlight. As your Finance Director, he monitors and administers the club’s budget, keeps track of club membership, and so much more! If you have any questions regarding membership or anything else do not hesitate to ask him.
LINDSAY RAPKIN, VICE PRESIDENT, 2013
Lindsay Rapkin is born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has had both a passion for politics and theater from a young age and has always dreamed of changing the world. After the experience of attending both public and private schools in Los Angeles she became passionate about working towards creating a better public schooling system for all of America's youth. Therefore, Lindsay plans on going into education policy after graduating this May. Lindsay was also an active member of her high school Democrats Chapter and was the Financial Director for the California High School Democrats in 2010. Lindsay is also a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority as well as the vice president of the Blackstonians Pre-Law Honor Society. Her major is Philosophy, Politics and Law and minors in both Theater and Religion.
SAM DORN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, 2013
Hello USC College Democrats! This is the biography of Sam Dorn, who serves as your Political Director. Because Sam Dorn thinks he is funny and wants to make fun of Bob Dole, Sam Dorn is writing this bio entirely in the third person. When not making fun of failed Presidential candidates, Sam studies Broadcast and Digital Journalism as well as Political Science. Sam originates from Rye, New York, the best state in the country, where he takes great pride in New York's history of upstanding moral politicians such as Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, Charlie Rangel and Carlos Danger. Lastly, Sam enjoys walking and can often be found walking aimlessly, muttering to himself. If seen, feel free to approach!