My Fall Break Campaign Experience
Every Fall Break, the Columbia University Democrats club takes a group of students on a trip to campaign for candidates and/or legislation. This year, they took ninety students to Reading, Pennsylvania to canvass and phone bank for Hillary Clinton for President, Katie McGinty for Senate, and Christina Hartman for Congress. As an active member of CU Dems, I was incredibly excited to go on my first campaign trip.
Weekends like this are just one of the opportunities that you have as a member of organizations and clubs at Barnard and Columbia. CU Dems also has a spring lobbying trip. And other organizations will host trips and events throughout the year to allow students to make new friends and be more involved in their respective organizations.
We spent the weekend doing a combination of door-to-door canvassing in Reading and calling voters encouraging them to vote Democratic in the election. Our days involved early wake-ups and groggy breakfasts of bagels and coffee, knocking on hundreds of doors and talking to the citizens of Reading. We did a shift of canvassing in the morning, had a long lunch (and usually a nap) and then did a second shift in the afternoon. At night, we did phone banking, had a family dinner at the Hillary 2016 headquarters in Reading, and then spent two hours calling Pennsylvania voters to encourage them to vote.
After the election, having the community from the Campaign Trip was helpful in so many ways. They were a group of people to comfort me during a time that was difficult for me to process, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them.
The weekend, although exhausting, was one of the most positive experiences of my school year so far, and of my life. It was incredibly rewarding to talk with voters and to have such an impact on a community that isn’t heavily targeted by campaigns. For example, in two days, the Columbia Democrats knocked on more doors in Reading than in each of the past four election cycles. Not only was the weekend rewarding in a political sense, but also because I made so many new friends from every Columbia college of all ages and I became closer with my CU Dems family!
*Note: The political views of the student are not a representation of those of Barnard College or Columbia University.