STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
It’s Election Time in Iowa and things are heating up.
With Election Day just around the corner on Nov. 4, Drake students are getting involved and passionate about politics. From motivating classmates to vote, to working with political parties and the candidates, students are finding ways to participate in politics.
Students are directly getting involved with internships. Russell White, a first-year politics major, is already interning for Bruce Braley’s campaign and gaining new experiences and knowledge regarding the political process.
“You just gain a lot of new perspective to the whole entire voting process and it’s really kind of enlightening …. You gain experience, insight, perspective, and you also make a lot of connections and those connections are both meaningful in the professional sense, but also socially,” White said.
Junior Cecelia Panella has been involved in politics
since high school, working with campaigns for an Illinois State Senator and Governor candidate. She is currently interning in support of Bruce Braley. From her experience she has learned a few lessons.
“It’s not an internship where you’re furthering yourself. You’re furthering the greater good,” Panella said.
Jacob Hession, a Drake sophomore, interned under Mark Jacobs in the preliminaries and is currently volunteering with Victory, an organization he described as “the grassroots extension of the Republican National Committee.” His participation shows that there are more ways to become involved.
All three interns have similar roles in their posts. Panella said that it is a lot of “leg work,” both literally and figuratively.
She survives off “energy drinks and Chipotle,” Panella said.
Hession says much of his work is making phone calls a couple times a week with Victory, while White’s work covers a broader scale of duties. Working five days a week, White’s job includes multiple things.
“Canvassing, whether it was in person or via phone bank,… (helping) with mailings, (sending) out postcards,… (and going) out on printing,” “ (helping with) events like the various debate rallies… (such as) the Michelle Obama rally on campus,” White said in reference to his duties.
Hession said that he has no plans to pursue a career in politics, but does what he does because he enjoys it.
“It’s an interesting way to stay involved and really contribute to something important,” Hession said. “And it’s pretty exciting. Politics is fun, it’s interesting,… (and it) matters. For me it’s mostly personal satisfaction.”
While Panella went out and applied for her positions, both White and Hession were sought out for theirs. White signed up for Drake Democrats at the student activities fair and was later contacted with the offer, while a friend of Hession’s referred him.
Although many internships are unpaid, that does not mean that the benefits are lacking.
“I met cool people and great networking opportunities. It was definitely a positive experience,” Hession said.
“You gain a lot of insight as to the entire process of campaigning,” White said.
White has also gained a greater appreciation for this system through his work.
“It makes you appreciate the kind of freedom we have when it comes to voting in people as your officials because compared to some other countries that don’t have that it’s really something great,” White said.