Eva Holtkamp thought running for president of the College Democrats of Ohio sounded like a crazy idea when it was first suggested to her, but she is now one of Ohio college students’ biggest voices in the Democratic party.
Holtkamp, a junior studying strategic communication and political science at Ohio University, was elected president of the College Democrats of Ohio, or CDO, on Saturday during the organization’s spring convention at John Carroll University. Holtkamp ran as part of the “Empower CDO” ticket along with seven other people from colleges across the state.
“Essentially you are just acting as a voice for college students,” Holtkamp said. “The big thing is communicating between the chapters and communicating with ODP (Ohio Democratic Party), to make sure they are standing up for college students.”
CDO is the statewide student political organization for the Democratic party. It is a collective of 24 branch organizations on college campuses across the state. During the convention, each branch organization gets three votes they are able to use on one or more candidates running for a position.
Holtkamp has been a member of the OU College Democrats, or OUCD, for three years and served as the communications director and vice president. She decided to run for president of the statewide organization at the suggestion of former CDO president, Anthony Eliopoulos from OU, and current vice president, Matthew Nowling from Denison University.
“Something I’m really excited about is almost every position had someone run against them, so I’m really proud that we were all elected and have a strong coalition,” Holtkamp said.
Meah McCallister, the 2019-2020 president of the OUCD, said she is good friends with Holtkamp and believes she will be a strong leader in the organization working toward better communication and being welcoming.
“As someone who recently came into the position of president of OUCD, I looked up to Eva and learned so much,” McCallister said. “I hope I can be a similar leader to her during my Presidency, and I know she will do amazingly well in CDO.”
The OU College Republicans, or OUCR, also recently had a member elected to the executive board of the statewide organization. Olivia Dixon was elected as the communications director of the Ohio College Republicans Federation.
“Even though we may have different political beliefs, (Holtkamp) is a fellow Bobcat and I always wish success to fellow bobcats,” Kailey Gentner, the 2019-2020 president of the OUCR, said.
Gentner said she thinks Holtkamp has a great amount of experience from her time in OUCD and as the university life commissioner for the Student Senate.
Holtkamp is the second consecutive OU student to be elected as president of the CDO. Anthony Eliopoulos, a senior, served as president during the 2018-2019 academic year.
“It really is just a testament to how strong OU’s chapter is,” Holtkamp said. “Being on such an activist campus has really helped us bolster our membership and leadership.”
McCallister and Holtkamp said they are unsure if an OU student was president of the CDO before Eliopoulos. Holtkamp said the president before him was from Miami University’s campus but OU has had members on the executive board in the past, such as city council candidate Samantha Miller.
“I think that speaks to Ohio University College Democrats' strengths,” McCallister said in an email. “We have very strong members and provide them with support to produce the most well rounded, educated, and prepared members as possible.”