Students ring up publicity for 2012 campaigns

Isabel Hubeny, Staff Writer

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Senior Laura Strickland spends her time talking politics over the phone with strangers.

She was given the job to make phone calls when she started volunteering for the Robert Dold campaign just a month ago. The reactions of those who answered were not what she expected.

“I was expecting to be hung up [on] 90 percent of the time, but in reality it’s only 40 percent of the time that [the phone calls] are completely dismissive,” Strickland said.

The 2012 10th District’s Congressional race is between Republican Robert Dold and Democrat Brad Schneider. Students can be involved with the campaigns by volunteering or being paid as an intern. Students can make phone calls and go canvassing, which is stopping door to door to talk to residents to promote their candidates.

Interested in politics, Strickland walked into the office with the impression that the people working there would be polarized about their opinions. She soon found out that they were in fact “generally tolerant of others’ opinions and generally very friendly.”

Strickland said that she learned to acquire a certain level of patience. The responses to her calls varied from people who were supportive, aggressively opinionated or even altogether unresponsive.

“You really need to be able to tolerate others having opinions,” Strickland said.

Though she only makes phone calls for the campaign, Strickland said that she still feels like she’s “a part of something bigger.”

For some students, working with politics and government has been an interest for several years. Junior Benjamin Englander has been on class board since freshman year. He now has held the position of treasurer for two years. Englander discovered the volunteering opportunity when he was traveling down the streets of Northbrook and saw a campaign sign. He decided to take action and emailed the campaign to be a part of the process. As of spring of 2012, he has been volunteering for the Schneider campaign by making phone calls and canvassing.

“I think growing up, I’ve always had an interest in politics, government and history,” Englander said. “Being on class board and working on the campaign allows me to pursue these interests.”

Englander believes that students should be more involved with politics.

“We’re the future of this country,” Englander said. “If we don’t understand the problems, we will never fix them.”

Strickland has a similar opinion.

“Youths as a whole are not a powerful voice if we don’t make ourselves heard,” Strickland said.

Strickland encourages others to get involved and said that the campaigns are always looking for more people to help out.

“If we don’t really get involved, we will be left behind,” Strickland said.

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Students ring up publicity for 2012 campaigns