The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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SPS Welcomes Forrest Bennett

Bennett will talk at SPS’s first meeting Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6:15 p.m.
Emily Loughridge
Chandler Leamon-Webb, SPS president, speaks about Forrest Bennett and the ideas he will discuss in SPS’s meeting Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6:15 p.m. in Davis 124.

Students for a Progressive Society (SPS) will have Forrest Bennett, a guest speaker, in attendance for their first meeting Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6:15 p.m. SPS’s meeting will be in Davis 124, where Bennett will demonstrate what progressive politics are and talk about his involvement during his time in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

SPS is one of three political organizations on USAO’s campus, including College Democrats and the Student Government Association (SGA). Each of these organizations differs in their mission. 

“I wanted to create a grassroots movement on campus where students with certain progressive political beliefs can congregate together and promote progressivism among all of the social sciences and humanities,” Chandler Leamon-Webb, SPS president, said.   

When it comes to the thought of grassroots and progressivism, Leamon-Webb said Bennett is a great advocate for both political concepts. Leamon-Webb describes Bennett as someone who values all the core ideas of SPS, which include local community work, diversity, equality, inclusion, social justice, and activism. 

Since 2016, Bennett has served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in the 92nd District. Along with that role, he is also the Assistant Minority Leader for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

Dr. Aleisha Karjala, professor of Political Science and advisor for SPS, said Bennett will provide students with his experiences during his tenure in the Oklahoma legislature during the meeting. 

“I asked him to share his experience with being liberal in a conservative state, what it was like running for office, and how it is like to serve in the state legislature,” Karjala said.  

Karjala also talked about what the students should receive not only from Bennett but from SPS.  

“I want all of the students to take away that it is okay to be different in this state and to not subscribe to the ideologic beliefs that the majority of people do,” Karjala said.  

Leamon-Webb describes SPS as a non-political party-assigned organization that promotes grassroots activism and progressivism political ideas. He said he feels strongly about these ideas and believes they have been embedded throughout America.  

“If you talk to any historian, they will tell you that the Civil Rights Movement did not happen without grassroots activists, and the same thing could be said for every major event in U.S. history,” Leamon-Webb said. 

As the leader of SPS, Leamon-Webb said he wants people who join the club to feel valued despite whatever circumstances they may have.  

“I want to show people that just because they may not know a lot about government or politics, doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of making change,” Leamon-Webb said.  

He also added that SPS wants to work with students from all walks of life and that SPS works outside of political party lines so that everyone can feel included.  

Anyone interested in learning more about SPS can attend their meetings every Thursday at 6:15 p.m. in Davis 124. Those who would be interested in joining the organization can reach out to Leamon-Webb at his email or send a message to their Instagram page (@usaosps).


Gary Jackson is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. 

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Gary Jackson
Gary Jackson, Managing Editor
Gary is a fourth-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA). Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Managing Editor: May 2024 - present Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - Apr. 2024 Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022