This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.
Three days of traveling with the College Democrats on their canvassing trip to Kentucky couldn’t all fit in one story. Here are some behind-the-scenes moments from the weekend.
1. Sleeping on the ground wasn’t what kept them up at night
While the canvassers knew they would be lodging in a gymnasium, they didn’t anticipate that some lights would not go off in the facility, even when “lights-out” time arrived.
On Friday night, some students’ had an even harder time falling asleep when they heard sounds outside that they thought were either gunshots or fireworks.
But College Democrats Vice President Amelia Williams said it didn’t hurt their enthusiasm during the trip.
“One would think that after riding on a bus for 11 hours and then sleeping on a hard floor in a fully lit room, people wouldn’t be so cheerful and excited to do this,” she said.
2. A group outing turned into a surprise “birthday party” for one College Democrat
During a group dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack, the students decided to help a fellow canvasser, who is a junior, pretend to celebrate his “16th birthday.”
Other patrons looked on at the large group, joined by the waiters, as they cheered for their friend who danced and hula-hooped while others sang “Happy Birthday.”
3. One canvasser’s conversation with a voter almost had a chance to go viral
Several residents of the Louisville neighborhoods had posted “no soliciting signs” outside their homes, but one homeowner didn’t realize that College Democrats member Greg Gaffney-Bills was there to discuss politics.
The resident tried to film Gaffney-Bills violating the rule, and he and his girlfriend secretly taped their conversation with Gaffney-Bills. Only when Gaffney-Bills was about to leave did they tell him what they had originally planned.
Had they not been Democrats themselves, they said they would have shared the video on Youtube, hoping to embarrass the sophomore.
4. Wardrobe malfunctions
Many students filled their bags for the trip with t-shirts depicting President Barack Obama and their GW College Democrats shirts with Obama’s name emblazoned on the back.
But it wasn’t until they got to Kentucky that canvassers remembered to be careful not to connect Democratic candidates there with Obama. Alison Grimes, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wanted to differentiate herself from the president and the administration’s policies that don’t resonate with Kentucky residents, like Obama’s policies toward coal mining.
Luckily for them, the weather was so cold they had to cover up anyway, and their t-shirts were hidden under jackets and sweatshirts.
5. Religious canvassers?
Some student canvassers struggled to keep residents from shutting the doors in their faces in particular in one neighborhood. A Jehovah’s Witness center was nearby, and a few students said neighbors probably mistook them as preachers.
“It made me feel like a Jehovah’s Witness,” freshman Sean McCormack said.
6. “The West Wing” wasn’t the only way they passed time on the bus
Students spent about 20 hours of the three-day trip on a coach bus without Wi-Fi or electric outlets, so the students made sure they had enough movies and TV shows on DVD to pass the time. They watched hours of “The West Wing,” and also picked films like “Mean Girls,” “Harry Potter” and “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin.”
While watching “The Mrs. Carter World Tour,” some students even sang along, danced and cheered as if they were audience members at a Beyoncé show.
7. An acoustic guitar jam session
One student decided to surprise the others by breaking out his guitar and serenading them one night.
A group of students gathered around as he played chords and asked them to sing along to popular holiday songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” When one student requested Sinatra, he played songs like “My Way” and “New York, New York.”