Political interest and activism are rising on the HWS campus as the 2008 presidential election approachs. The Vote Smart bus came to campus in November, and HWS Votes has been active, but individual students are making their marks as well.
Over winter break, Vincent DeFabo ’08 volunteered with the Giuliani campaign in New Hampshire during the week leading up to that primary. DeFabo, a double-major in political science and public policy, says that his volunteer work was “the typical phone banking and dropping literature door to door. He “was impressed with how many citizens of New Hampshire were aware of the responsibility and willing to listen to any information I could give about the candidate.
DeFabo was able to attend a pre-debate rally, “in the cold New Hampshire snow to cheer for our candidate with signs, and attended a post-debate party, where he heard Giuliani speak. “For anyone who is a political junkie like me, DeFabo says, “to see the person they are working for so close is amazing … It was also unusual for me to get to … two events — most campaigns that I have worked on…have only been phone banking and going door to door.
DeFabo is working toward honors in political science on a project based on Homeland Security policy. He is the senior class president and a member of Kappa Alpha Society. “Overall I had a great time, he says. “I love seeing how our democracy works, good or bad. This should fit in perfectly with my aspirations to work in a congressional staff or on a campaign. The most rewarding part is that I felt like I made a difference.
Joshua Strenger ’09 has been interning for the Clinton campaign since the beginning of winter break. An anthropology-sociology major minoring in The Good Society, he was involved in distributing pamphlets, phone banking, and instructing and coordinating other volunteer efforts to maximize efficiency. Some of his focus was on helping increase awareness among the young voters.
“When I got here, I didn’t know a lot about politics, Strenger says, “but I’m learning more and more every day about how campaigns operate … I love it. I want to come back during the summer.
Strenger, the treasurer of Hillel, a Campus Peer Minister, and publicity chair for the Campus Activities Board, was afforded many opportunities while working at the campaign. “The first day I got to work at an event and spent two hours with President Clinton. During the New Hampshire primary, he met Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. He cited his time with the campaign in New Hampshire as the most exciting – going door to door, chanting, promoting, attending the rally. “It’s great how much you get to do; you get thrown right in.
He even appeared in the audience on the Tyra Banks Show with other Clinton campaign interns and volunteers.
“Seeing how adamant people are for Senator Hillary Clinton, and getting to know the people at the campaign and how much they care, was extremely rewarding for Strenger.