Politically Active Students Work Until The Final Moments

The election is four days away, which means it is crunch time for people working for political campaigns. Positions vary in the amount of commitment required for those involved, some requiring more than others; however, each role is just as crucial in mobilizing voters. Some of these positions on the campaign are held by students, including some from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB). Politics is an intense topic and job field; however, it is essential as citizens of a free democratic republic to be interested in it, whether it be working on the campaign trail or just learning about different policies that affect your daily life.

Students On The Campaign Trail

Guillermo Gomez, campaign manager for Kristina Shelton pre-COVID-19 at gathering. Photo Credit: Guillermo Floyd Gomez

Positions on the campaign trail vary from candidate to candidate; however, many of them include a campaign manager. Guillermo Gomez, Campaign Manager for Kristina Shelton and UWGB student, says, “most days I am contacting voters through our Virtual Phone Banks or through texting software.” Voter mobilization is vital for campaign managers as this tactic is what gets their candidate into office. Since COVID-19, voter mobilization tactics have become more virtual. “Working from home, a lot of the time is nice, but our campaign really vibed with our in-person meetings and in-person chemistry, and although it’s not lost, it’s certainly different.” As the election draws nearer, these efforts of voter mobilization are only increased, requiring campaign workers to manage their time closely.

Local campaign office for people working on the campaign trail. Photo Credit: Emily DeLaurelle.

 

“It wasn’t challenging at first for me to balance working on the campaign and attending school full-time, but as the election drawers closer, things are ramping up, and it’s more difficult to manage both,” says Emily DeLaurelle, a grassroots organizer for a local Congressman and political science major at UWGB. Emily says, “I’ve learned to manage my time so that I can both do well in school as well as devote myself to the campaign.” On average, Emily spends 15-20 hours a week working for the campaign along with school and another part-time job. Guillermo maps out his week day-by-day. “Mondays are meant for getting things started in the week, my one in-person class, and student government. Tuesdays are for campaign work and online classes,” Guillermo says. Both Guillermo and Emily enjoy working on the campaign trail and believe politics are essential for everyday citizens to understand and value.

Why Does This Matter to You?

Kristina Shelton, 90th district assembly candidate, talking at UWGB about her campaign (Pre-COVID-19). Photo Credit: Guillermo Floyd Gomez.

“Getting involved with politics means that you are able to have a say in what happens in your district,” says Guillermo. Professor Ekaterina Levintova, Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies and Internship Coordinator, says, “We should have more involvement in democracy, beyond just voting in elections. Helping with campaigns gives one a unique perspective on one’s own community. It increases a sense of self-efficacy and involvement”. And even though these internships or opportunities might be political, they offer more, “the professional benefits of getting involved in politics during an election year, in particular, are great such as networking,” Emily says.

For students looking to get involved, there are still opportunities during COVID-19. Local organizations, the Mayor’s office, and multiple other organizations all have options that align with current social distancing standards, says Professor Levintova.

By: Matthew KnokeMackenzie BrownAlexis Beck and Ben Newhouse

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