Student Groups Fuel Campaign Efforts

Photo courtesy of Vishal Anand, student at Northeastern University.
Written by Shannon Golden

By Shannon Golden
BU News Service

With election day just around the corner, political campaigns are in the final stretch. Both parties have professional staffers across the country working hard to get their candidates elected, but there’s another group working to help their candidates win: College Republicans and College Democrats.

These groups have been extremely busy over the past year preparing and working on the 2016 elections.

“There is so much potential in our passion,” said Nathan Worob, press secretary of the Northeastern University College Democrats. “By coming together and working to help the cities we occupy achieve the political goals of their residents, we not only utilize this sense of political goodwill, but we truly become democratic agents for collective successes in society.”

Students in the Boston area have been volunteering and sending members to campaign in surrounding areas, especially in New Hampshire.

Worob’s organization has sent members to New Hampshire and New Jersey to campaign for Democratic candidates. NU College Democrats have also been involved with the larger state organization of Massachusetts College Democrats which has gotten them on board with the Joe Kennedy III for Congress campaign.

“We have traveled to New Hampshire several times, as well as Cape Cod, Western Massachusetts and flew to a conference in Philadelphia and canvassed there,” said Harvard Democrats Executive Board member Reed Shafer-Ray. “We host a weekly phone bank to call for close senatorial and congressional races, while our Hillary sub-committee has weekly phone banks.”

The Harvard Democrats have sent dozens of letters and e-mails to Representatives and Harvard professors seeking endorsements on the Massachusetts ballot questions. On election day, November 8, the group will be sending a bus to New Hampshire to campaign.

The Havard group has seen an uptick in membership this election season. Membership has more than doubled from the previous semester, rising from 60 active members to nearly 250.

College Republicans on the other hand, face a more difficult battle on campus in Boston. Since Boston tends to go blue, the Republican groups have a tougher time with outreach.

“The main difficulty, given that we are in such a liberal location, is that that people don’t know we as a club exist on campus,” said Northeastern College Republican President, Joe Frissora. “This is an issue every year, but the polarity on campus created by this year’s presidential campaign has really exposed how little-known we are as a group on campus.”

Frissora explained that although his group has not been heavily involved off-campus, they have been a part of an initiative called Northeastern Votes. The initiative is student run and aims to register students to vote in Massachusetts. He stressed how important it is for young people to vote and get involved with the political process.

Suffolk University College Republican Courtney Schopke shared Frissora’s belief about the importance of young people getting involved with politics.

“It is so important for college students to be involved now,” Schopke said. “They are deciding their own future, as well as the future for their children.”

Shafer-Ray  agrees. “What one does early in life becomes habit,” Shafer-Ray said. “It is important for college students to get politically involved because their civic engagement now can translate into a lifetime of public service in the name of the general interest.”

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