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Students campaign during break

Nicole Zook | Friday, October 15, 2004

Unlike many of their peers, many politically-minded Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are using next week’s hiatus as an opportunity to actively campaign for the upcoming presidential election.

Some members of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College Republicans and College Democrats will be spending their break canvassing door to door in their own neighborhood, rallying support for their preferred candidate.

Saint Mary’s College Republicans co-president Mary Allen said that while the club itself does not have any activities planned over break, many of its members will participate in these door-to-door campaign efforts of their own volition.

“There are individual girls who are planning on going around their hometowns, their neighborhoods, and getting involved in local chapters,” Allen said. “Some of the girls have gotten geared up and gotten paraphernalia like stickers and buttons to take back home with them, and they will be bringing paraphernalia back to hand out to South Bend residents as well.”

Notre Dame College Democrats co-president Colin Taylor said that many of his organization’s members will also be spreading the political word.

“A lot of people are going to get involved and volunteer as much of their time as they can while they are at home,” Taylor said.

Taylor will be participating in the campaign efforts during the break.

“I live in Ohio, and I’m going home to work all week for the Kerry campaign in Ohio,” he said. “It’s so close in Ohio right now … it’s virtually a dead heat, and I just want to help out as much as I can. And I enjoy doing it.”

Also from Ohio is Sarah Staley, president of the Saint Mary’s College Democrats, who said she is excited to see John Kerry speak in her home state on the first Saturday of the break.

“It’s a great opportunity. Once you’re involved with the Democratic Party, it really opens your eyes to how a presidential campaign really is a national effort – people all over America are doing the same things like going door-to-door and phone banking,” Staley said.

Staley said by contributing to the campaign efforts in their own hometowns, club members are “taking a step in the right direction.”

Allen agreed, emphasizing the importance of making information available for all.

“It’s important to get the vote out,” she said. “Some people really don’t know who is running or what the candidates believe. It’s important that everybody gets out there and expresses their opinion.”

Notre Dame College Republicans co-presidents Tom Rippinger and Ian Ronderos have already planned club activities for when school resumes.

“We have contacted the Michigan Republicans,” Rippinger said. “As soon as we get back, we want to do some swing state work in Michigan. Especially in the 72 hours before the vote, it’s important to kick it up.”

Ronderos agreed that the few days before the election will be crucial for all candidates.

“We’re going to skip classes on Election Day to work for the Mitch Daniels campaign,” he said.

Democrats from both colleges will also be participating in additional events as the election draws nearer. Together, the clubs will attend a Kerry rally in Battle Creek the last Sunday of fall break and canvas neighborhoods, including a trip to the Toledo area the weekend before the election.

“We’re going to be going door to door, making sure people can get out to vote,” Staley said. “The day of the election, a few of us are going up to Michigan to be runners, doing things like checking off lists of people who need to vote and helping the elderly to get rides. It will get students and residents pumped up for the election.”