In the piece from the October 18 issue of the Orient, "College Democrats are little more than a propaganda machine," contributor Benjamin Ziomek criticized us for the posters we put up in support of voting "No" on three of the referendum questions. What he failed to include in his analysis was our activism and political engagement throughout the fall.

This fall, before diving into Election Day preparations, the Bowdoin College Democrats were actively involved in the issue of health care. We arranged a screening of President Barack Obama's health care speech, followed by a discussion moderated by Professor Selinger of the government department.

We tabled in the union to encourage people to write to their senators and to distribute information about the health care debate. Throughout the fall, we held phone-banks for health care reform and a strong climate bill, and heard from activists and organizers engaged in the "No" on 1, 2, and 4 campaigns. We talked to state representatives and town council candidates. We held weekly meetings and had a table in the union once a week.

On Saturday, October 24, we held an Early Vote Day, at which 417 people voted. Later that day, we were also involved in the Operation FREE/350 rally for strong climate change legislation. This past Tuesday, Election Day, we drove people to the polls; had information tables set up in the union, Moulton, and Thorne; called Bowdoin students who had not voted on Early Vote Day; and dropped off literature with our positions and instructions on how to get to the polls.

As an organization, we try to encourage Bowdoin students to educate themselves about issues and then engage politically around those issues. We believe that actions speak louder than words. Mr. Ziomek, we have had a presence on campus beyond our posters. We understand that "students have the ability [to] make up their own minds," and we were happy to engage in discussion with the students who took the time to stop by our table. Yes, we took a position on several issues and encouraged students to vote that way. We are, after all, the Bowdoin College Democrats and we do advocate democratic, liberal positions.

We worked hard to educate Bowdoin students on the ballot issues, but political engagement must come from students as well. Students must also make an effort to educate themselves about the issues; we are one resource of many for finding information on ballot questions. Through tabling and other interactions with students, we have engaged in numerous discussions throughout the fall, indicating that there is no dearth of intellectual discourse at Bowdoin.

We encourage you to get involved at Bowdoin, in Brunswick, and in Maine. Find an issue you are passionate about it and make your voice heard. If you would like to work with us, you are always welcome.

Thank you to those who voted on Tuesday, who volunteered with us and who have been an integral part of our organization this fall. We were sorely disappointed by the result on Question 1, but know that many worked tirelessly here at Bowdoin, and around the state of Maine, for equality and civil rights for all Maine citizens. We're looking forward to working with all of you for the rest of the year!

Caitlin Callahan is co-president of Bowdoin College Democrats and a member of the Class of 2011.