This past Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8p.m., the College Democrats at Stevens (CDS) had their second general body meeting with special guest Ravi Bhalla. Ravi Bhalla is a candidate for Hoboken’s Mayor, now that present Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s term is ending. This is an important election for Stevens, as the mayor elected will be the mayor the Class of 2021 sees for the rest of their time at Stevens. CDS is encouraging Stevens students and faculty to register to vote, not only for this election, but for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election as well. CDS has even put aside their differences with the College Republicans, and are working together with the Student Government Association to register the goal of 1870 Stevens voters in Hoboken.
Shortly after CDS’s opening presentation, Ravi Bhalla entered with Bindya Bhalla, his wife. Ravi Bhalla opened the night’s discussion with some of his background, including why he decided to become more involved local politics. Bhalla states that, “things at the local level affect more your life rather than councilmen in Washington,” adding to why Stevens needs to go out and vote. Bhalla also opened up about his struggle being Sikh when he first immersed himself in the world of politics. Bhalla, however, did not let that faze him, as he believes people care more about being able to deliver on issues rather than identity, a philosophy which seemed to work in his favor after being elected a council member alongside Mayor Zimmer with the highest number of votes.
Bhalla has not only involved himself in the state of Hoboken’s affairs, but he has also made connections with Stevens as well, especially regarding the issue of naming the new academic complex after Greg Gianforte. Bhalla says he personally spoke to Stevens President Farvardin about the situation, saying it would not be acceptable if the building was named after someone who was against a certain race or gender, thus it should not be okay to name the building after someone anti-gay either. Besides that discussion with President Farvardin, he has also collaborated with Farvardin to create a “pipeline” between Stevens and Newell Brands to offer jobs for Stevens graduates.
Before Bhalla left, he answered some questions from College Democrats members and guests, including where his favorite place to eat pizza was: Benny Tudino’s. Candidate Ravi Bhalla encourages Stevens students to become involved in their community, closing the night with, “Don’t underestimate the kind of difference you can make.”