Several GW students felt the impact of Vice President Al Gore’s announcement last week that he will move his presidential campaign headquarters from D.C. to Nashville, Tenn.
GW students who volunteered or interned for the Gore 2000 campaign said their political involvement will not end because of the move.
“I might actually get to sleep for a couple hours each night,” said senior Carolyn Lee, who has worked with the campaign for almost nine months.
In addition to heading Students for Gore, a national network of college students supporting Gore’s presidential bid, Lee is the political affairs director of the GW College Democrats, a community facilitator in Thurston Hall and is writing a thesis. She said she is not worried about finding other things to occupy her time.
Lee said she contributes 30 to 35 hours a week to the Gore 2000 effort. After the move, she estimates she will spend between 20 and 25 hours a week on tasks that she can do away from the office, such as organizing student meetings and traveling to other campuses to promote Gore’s campaign.
Lee wants to move to Tennessee to work at the new headquarters when she graduates with a degree in political communications next spring.
Scott Tenley, another GW student working for Gore 2000, said he still plans to do political work and may also move to Tennessee when he graduates.
“The campaign is almost in my blood,” he said.
Tenley said he began working in the political affairs department of the campaign last May, devoting about 35 hours a week to it. Since school started, he said, he always worked at least 25 hours every week, and he was sometimes there late at night and on weekends.
Tenley said when he began with the campaign, he did not know how much time and effort he was going to spend on it, but, as he contributed, he became more and more involved.
“A lot of times I’d rather be at work than at class,” said Tenley, a veteran of other political campaigns. “I love campaigns now.”
Another GW student said he would take advantage of the free time afforded by Gore’s move.
“I’ll be spending more time on my thesis, and that’s the straight truth,” said senior Aaron Myers, a student who helped with development of the Gore 2000 Web site. Myers said he is not entirely sure what his role will be in the campaign now.
“I might have to read about it in the paper” instead of being there, but the ultimate goal of sending Gore to the White House is more important than his own role, he said.
“I’m very excited for the way the campaign’s moving,” Myers said. “In the last few months I’ve had nothing but fun there.”
Myers said even if he is not directly involved in the Gore campaign, he will continue to support the effort by voting for Gore and encouraging others to do the same.
“I certainly believe he is the best candidate in the race,” he said.
Lee, Tenley and Myers were at campaign headquarters when Gore made the announcement that the campaign will move.
Tenley and Lee said many campaign workers were shocked at first but are now excited about the move. Lee also said those present during the announcement felt “really special” because it is such an important move, and they were part of it.
“I think it’s a really good move,” Lee said. “People are excited about it in Nashville, and they’re excited about it here.”
She said there has been no news of whether the Gore campaign will continue to have an office in Washington, but “there’s still going to be an opportunity to be involved.”
About half of the daytime volunteers at the Washington campaign headquarters are GW students, said Gore 2000 National Volunteer Coordinator Sue Greenberg, who received a master’s degree from GW. She said about eight interns worked there for the fall semester and said there were probably more during the summer.
“I’m going to miss everybody,” she said of the GW interns and volunteers who worked on the campaign. “We haven’t really had any bad volunteers.”
GW students have worked in all areas of the campaign, Greenberg said.
“They really are everywhere,” she said.
Greenberg is in charge of finding new internships for students from GW and other schools who are working with Gore 2000.
“That’s what I have been doing since I heard (the campaign will move),” she said.
Greenberg said no student who wants to be placed in another internship will be left out. One possible option, which two GW students have taken, is for students to finish their internship semesters at the White House, she said.