The 2014 midterm election are less than a week away, and for some students, that means more than showing up to vote. Sana Surani, a second year PUBP and Jake Orvis, a first year PUBP, were among those who worked for Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Georgia
Orvis worked mostly on phone banking, calling volunteers and undecided voters, while Surani worked mostly on campaigning and canvassing. She also worked in several other departments throughout the summer.
“Over the summer there were so many fellows that they switched us around in different departments, so I worked with the research team and I worked with communications a little bit and finance. I was all over the office doing different jobs,” Surani said.
Surani and Orvis believe that, despite some students’ impression of Tech as politically apathetic, that Tech students are very involved this year.
“For the most part, I feel like there are a lot of politically complacent, but that’s a thing that happens with this age group, Orvis said. “But … when you go out there are a lot of people who really want to get registered and get involved—I think we’re more politically active compared to other universities.”
“Over the summer there were about I would say [there were] 35 [college students working for the campaign] just in the field department alone, and that’s a lot,” Surani said. “Some of them were Georgia Tech students.”
According to Surani, during the summer, they would register as many as 50 people per day when the volunteered with voter registration at Tech.
Among the benefits of working on a political campaign, according to Sarani, is learning about the process and about the issues in the election.
“I think participation is very important, especially in campaigns because for me you don’t really understand what’s going on or all the work that goes on behind the scenes in a campaign,” Surani said. “And just by participating you learn so much about the issues, you learn so much about the cause and how to interact with people and how to really get the message out.”
Another benefit that Orvis names is getting to know different people.
“I think my favorite thing was—it was definitely the people,” Orvis said. “When you walk into the Nunn office, it looks exactly like you would expect like a grassroots political campaign to look, pretty much just a really large room with some folding tables set up with a lot of phones and it’s really great to see so many people throughout the community of very, very different social status coming in to work to achieve one goal.”
One of the big issues in the race, especially college students, according to Surani is college tuition prices.
“I know last semester she came and had a talk about college affordability and making the financial aid system easier to understand… college debt is a problem right now and I think Georgia Tech students or really any college students can relate to that,” Surani said.
Early voting for the Senate race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue has already begun, but the official election date when the race will be decided is Nov. 4.