The first week of February was the College Democrats’ “Dems Week” on the Lawrence campus. The College Democrats are a group of students who encourage an active political climate on campus through the presentation of issues that are of particular concern to the Democratic Party. Dems Week is a weeklong series of events, each creating opportunities for political debate, celebration and questioning of opinions. Kicking off the week Monday, Feb. 1, the College Dems invited Maggie Schmidt, a member of the Gay, Lesbian Or Whatever club to share her knowledge about how LGTBQ rights are fitting into the current political arena. Schmidt’s presentation included a detailed overview of LGTBQ rights in the United States and abroad, as well as a more focused discussion about marriage equality. The night of Tuesday, Feb. 2, was reserved for political comedy and light-heartedness with a showing of the movie “My Fellow Americans” in the Warch Campus Center Cinema. The goal of showing this movie was to gather a non-partisan audience to enjoy a movie that accentuates the stereotypical foibles of Democrats and Republicans alike, to show that both liberals and conservatives have their quirks. Following this night of leveling the playing field, a State of the Union Panel took place Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. Occurring a week after President Obama’s State of the Union Address for 2010, the panel was made up of five people: two Democrats, J. B. Sivanich and Maggie Schmidt, two Republicans, Fanny Briceno and Cooper Smith, and one neutral member, Assistant Professor of Government Arnold Shober. In reviewing the panel discussion, Shober commented: “Both of the Republicans and both Democrats on the panel were able to give solid evidence for their agreements and disagreements with the president. I’m a firm believer that the freedom to criticize is crucial to democracy – and that isn’t confined to just one side of the political spectrum.” Next on the Dems Week agenda was a presentation by local Sierra Club members Dale Schaber and Will Stahl. The speakers focused on ongoing club projects at the national, state and Fox Valley levels, including mountain top removal, water contamination due to farm runoff, and the local Ice Age Trail. According to Kate Allison and Csilla Megyeri, two active College Democrats club members, the biggest and best event of the week was the “Rally at the Warch” event, which took place Friday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. The rally was held in the Hurvis Room of the Warch Campus Center and brought big names to campus, such as U.S. Congressman Steve Kagen, Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson, State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber and Wisc. Lieutenant Governor candidate Henry Sanders. Nelson, Schaber and Sanders started out the rally with short speeches regarding the importance of keeping young voters energized as politicians whittle away at current policy refinement. Kagen then opened the floor for questions from the audience. A majority of the questions regarded healthcare, and these were answered with bits of information about his healthcare agenda for an indiscriminate standard health insurance policy and creating large-risk pools to bring prescription costs down. This event piqued the interest of not only the Lawrence community, but of the Fox Valley community as well, attracting around 50 people. Dave Broker, president of the College Democrats, expressed his satisfaction with the hard work and thoughtful planning carried out by his fellow College Democrats for the 2010 Dems Week. Regarding the dynamic rally at the Warch, Broker said, “Our organization has never really tried anything like this for Dems Week before, so I’m really happy that it [came] along so well.