Prairie Stars on The Move: Dorm Room Politics


Three students at UIS are currently hosting a weekly podcast from inside Lincoln Residence Hall. “Dorm Room Politics”is the product of three freshmen with different political beliefs working together to air their views and opinions in a very public way. The goal of the podcast is to discuss current events and policy changes with perspectives that span the political spectrum. The topics can be about almost anything current and related to politics.

Topics range from domestic issues such as marijuana legalization and abortion rights to international issues such as Brexit and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The podcast is balanced due to its three hosts. The right wing “conservative” beliefs are given by Justin Fischer, a Business Finance freshman. The left wing “liberal” beliefs are given by Austin Vertheim, a Political Science and Economics freshman. To balance these two views out is Nolan Flaherty, a Business Finance and Political Science major who identifies as a political “moderate.”

Instead of claiming their own beliefs as unbiased, they admit that bias is impossible to avoid. Instead, they focus on presenting all perspectives on any argument in order for the listeners to form an educated opinion on their own.“

Dorm Room Politics” began in the spring of 2018 when the three hosts were seniors in high school in their hometown of Oswego, Illinois. They had interests in politics but vastly different political views, resulting in constant arguments and debates between them. When the three classmates found themselves accepted to UIS, they decided to start a podcast and continue it into college.

That podcast now averages anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 listeners per episode with a national following, concentrated largely on the East Coast. In the past it was featured on Spreaker, a podcast hosting service.

“Dorm Room Politics” continues to increase its audience, with the most recent episode on the shooting in Aurora, Illinois achieving one of the highest listener counts of the whole series. Several campus organizations knew of the podcast before any of the three took their first class, and there is a possibility of the podcast partnering with NPR Illinois (which broadcasts from the UIS campus) in the future. Anyone wanting to listen in can find their information and podcasts via twitter @dormroompoli.

The podcast is also available on Spreaker, iTunes, and Spotify.