Bipartisan College Roommates Encouraging Political Discussion On Campus

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Politics can sometimes divide people.

Republicans and Democrats don’t exactly hang out on election night, but at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, two roommates are trying to change that line of thinking.

Cole Birkeland and Nick Solheim are sophomores. Cole is the President of the College Democrats and Nick is the Chair of the College Republicans. Despite their differences, they’re best of friends.

What’s even more interesting is that these ideological rivals choose to live together.

“Never gotten into a fight. Nothing has ever collided, other than he doesn’t do his dishes,” Cole said.

Cole and Nick met freshman year.

“We started out the year giving speeches on opposite political agendas,” Nick said.

Speech class led to what they call “intelligent political discussions.” Through those, they realized that they agreed on one main thing- that they want their country to be the best it can be.

“You also develop a respect for the other side,” Cole said. “You understand where people are coming from. And you can truly work with each other.”

Outside their bipartisan dorm room is a conservative campus. Cole founded a college democrats group at Northwestern and admits he’s outnumbered, but he’s still getting support from his right-leaning roommate.

“If we can have an exchange of ideas and have fun at the same time, I think that’s in the best interest of everybody,” said Nick.

Cole said he’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton this fall. Nick said he’ll give Donald Trump his vote. Both say they want to be politicians someday.

More from John Lauritsen

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