For the students who took a semester off to work on political campaigns, the days of long hours, cold pizza and reams of voter contact sheets are over.
Junior Peter Weiss, who joked that he subsisted for several months on “Cheetos and water” while he worked as a deputy field organizer for the Barack Obama campaign in Hilliard, Ohio, said his decision to leave GW for a semester was “one of the best decisions I ever made.”
“To be able to fight for something you believe in is a tremendous experience I wish everyone could have the privilege of doing,” Weiss said.
As a field organizer, he helped recruit and lead teams of volunteers and created informational packets for canvassing and phone banking. Weiss said working with the volunteers was the best part of his job.
“Their stories were all inspiring – a truly humbling experience,” he said.
Matt Lubin, a senior who worked in the research department at the Democratic National Convention headquarters in D.C., had similar sentiments.
“I’m very glad I did it and I’m very glad to have been part of such a monumental event in American history,” he said.
At the DNC, Lubin was responsible for maintaining the department’s archives and making new recordings of the opposing party’s appearances on television. He then distributed the recordings to state parties and the Obama campaign for examination.
Lubin said, however, it will be nice to return to the life of a student.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to school in January,” he said.
Even students whose candidate lost the election said they enjoyed the experience.
Junior Alexa Feldman coordinated fundraising for Democratic Senate candidate Rick Noriega in her hometown of Austin, Texas. She said she gained invaluable experience in her study of political communications.
“I had a really great time and I learned a lot,” Feldman said. “We were fighting an uphill battle and we knew that.”
“It would have been nice to win, but I definitely got a lot out of it,” she added. Noriega lost to incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn.
Feldman was the youngest paid employee on the Noriega campaign when she accepted their offer to become finance coordinator. As part of her job, she helped plan and execute fundraising events, tracked fundraising data, sent out mailings, called donors and coordinated intern schedules and tasks.
Feldman was also responsible for a fundraising timeline and sent out daily reminder e-mails to her bosses, regional finance coordinators who often had multiple events occurring in their jurisdictions.
“Anything that really needed to be done, I did,” Feldman said. “Besides the interns, I was the youngest paid staff member. At times it was difficult; I got made fun of a lot.”
Feldman’s final task was closing down the Austin office the Friday after the election.
“We just have a ton of things that we kind of left because our whole office moved to Houston,” Feldman said. “So we have a lot of packing up to do.”