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  College Republicans Build Strong Base In Rhode Island
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Nov 13, 2007 11:31pm
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MediaTV News - Columbia Broadcasting System CBS News
News DateWednesday, November 14, 2007 07:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAs the 2008 presidential election ramps up, the College Republican Federation of Rhode Island has begun a push to organize young Republicans, raise funds and spread "the conservative message to campuses" across Rhode Island, said Ryan Bilodeau, the federation's chairman.

The federation currently has six active chapters and more than 1,000 registered student members at Brown, the University of Rhode Island, Providence and Bryant colleges and Johnson and Wales and Roger Williams universities. The federation wants to start chapters at Rhode Island College and Salve Regina University, said Bilodeau, a URI junior.

"We're unique because we're so organized in a state like Rhode Island, (where) Republicans are such a minority," he said. Though the organization has existed sporadically for the past 10 to 15 years, it has "come together in an organized and structured way" only recently, Bilodeau said.

On Oct. 13 the group organized a training event at the campaign headquarters of Scott Avedisian, the Republican mayor of Warwick. Chapter heads received manuals on how to conduct fundraising events and write press releases, Bilodeau said.

Sarah Highlander, chairwoman of the Providence College chapter, said the October seminar was a "good networking event."

"It was nice to hear how the GOP community supports the college Republicans," she said, adding that the college Republicans are the "grassroots arm" of the Rhode Island GOP.

Andrew Kurtzman '08, the federation's executive director and secretary of the Brown College Republicans, said he is working to introduce conservative magazines on other campuses and hold journalism training events for interested students. Kurtzman, a former Herald staff writer, spoke about the importance of college conservative publications at the October training event, Bilodeau said.

The organization has also started a fundraiser called "Drive for Five," which aims to collect $5,000 before the election next year to "pay (its) bills
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