Lending a hand to campaigns allows new look at politics

November 5, 2012 6:00 AMComments Off

Photos courtesy of Drake College Republicans and Julianne Klampe

Presidential campaigns are reaching the final stretch and student volunteers know this better than anyone. They’ve dedicated their time and energy over the past months with the hope that their candidate will come out on top. From internships to volunteer work, many Drake University students have played a part in this presidential race.

There’s really no limit to what tasks the voluntary campaign workers do. Long hours are to be expected said senior Matt Van Hoeck, an intern for the Barack Obama campaign. Volunteers participate in everything from making phone calls to working at events. Van Hoeck said he’s probably been involved with every volunteer activity imaginable with the campaign, but one of his most valuable experiences has been learning to work with a large variety of people.

“I went from talking to felons and ex-felons that were wondering if they had voting rights (to) people that had just moved to Iowa,” Van Hoeck said. “I’ve done leadership activities on campus, but that doesn’t give you the diversity of people that it does actually working in the Des Moines community. I feel a lot more comfortable working with all types of income levels around Des Moines. Even if you say you’re understanding, until you get out there in the neighborhoods, you don’t really get it yet.”

College students are able to bring valuable qualities to the campaign through their energy and desire to reach out to peers. As the political campaigns change rapidly through technology, students must constantly be ready to learn and adapt Van Hoeck said.

The Mitt Romney campaign had its interns sign contracts promising not to speak to the media until after the election was over. Sophomore Taylor Crow, a volunteer for the Romney campaign, agrees that students have a lot to offer.

“I think that, as college students, we are able to bring a new face and excitement to the election,” Crow said.

Sophomore Julianne Klampe’s enthusiasm for the election stems from her involvement with the Democratic Party since middle school — knocking on doors and making political phone calls was a family activity. She brought her love for politics with her to college and by becoming an intern for the Obama campaign, has gotten even more involved.

“I decided to do my internship because I want to work in campaigns when I grow up,” Klampe said. “I love the excitement … my favorite part is interacting with students at Drake who are excited about voting.”

As Vice President of Bulldogs for Barack, Klampe said the primary goal of college volunteers is to get students to vote, no matter what party they support.

“My message to students that haven’t voted yet is remember that you can register to vote on Election Day. You can do up until Nov. 6.” Klampe said. “A lot of people think it’s too late to register.”

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