As the 2016 election cycle presses on with the national conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties, Hobart and William Smith students and alums are taking active roles in the democratic process — inside on the convention floors, out in campaign offices and in the field.
“It was a very surreal experience to attend the Republican National Convention,” says Mark Pitifer ’18, who nevertheless felt “right at home. I absolutely loved every minute I spent there.”
Pitifer landed an invitation to the RNC through his internship this summer as a field representative in the Finger Lakes for the reelection of Congressman Tom Reed. Pitifer serves in Reed’s Geneva, N.Y. office and is responsible for working with communities and individuals in five counties in the Finger Lakes region, to spread Reed’s message throughout the 23rd district. Pitifer is a recipient of the Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA) endowed scholarship.
During the first day of the RNC, Alli McCracken ’10, national director of the woman-initiated, grassroots peace and social justice movement CODEPINK, drew international attention for her protests in Cleveland, Ohio. McCracken held a banner reading “Yes We Can End War” and spoke out for peace and against racism and Islamaphobia, interrupting a speech by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.
“As a young person who’s grown up in a time of endless war, I think that’s what’s making us unsafe — spending trillions of dollars on war instead of reinvesting in our communities,” she said in a video on USAToday.com. McCracken’s protest and that of other CODEPINK staffers have been covered elsewhere, on the Daily Mail, Cleveland.com, CODEPINK’s website and widely on social media.
Eden Tesfaye ’14 is in Philadelphia, Pa., preparing for next week’s democratic convention. Tesfaye serves as director of special projects in Pennsylvania for the DNC and as a member of the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Previously, the political science and English double-major served as a national campus engagement organizer at Hillary for America.
During the DNC, Clayton Lyons ’17, also a political science and English double-major, and Chalwyn Caulker ’17, an international relations and French & Francophone studies double-major, will both be in Philadelphia as well, working as Hillary for America interns.
Recent graduate Nora Abramov ’16, who interned with NBC News in 2015 and helped the network cover the New Hampshire primary election and debates in 2016, will work with Fox News to cover next week’s democratic convention.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of a very historic moment,” says Abramov. “I got to travel to the New Hampshire primaries with NBC News and now I get to be a part of the ‘finale’ with a different network I have never worked with. I’m thrilled and humbled to have been given the opportunity.”
Beginning Aug. 1, Shannon Casey ’16 will work as a field organizer for The Ohio Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign. “As a political science major and an American studies minor, I have always been interested in politics, especially after my semester in Washington, D.C. With a plethora of political internships throughout my undergraduate career, I am very grateful for the skills that I learned at HWS – because they contributed to my ability to get this amazing job opportunity,” Casey says.
HWS community members, who are involved with the 2016 Presidential Election, are encouraged to send information to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the photos above, Mark Pitifer ’18 stands with MSNBC’s Political Commentator Chris Matthews and Alli McCracken’10 is escorted out of the Quicken Loans Arena.