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Co-​​op hits the campaign trail

Kate Buckley cut her polit­ical teeth on co-​​op at the State House for Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Deval Patrick’s admin­is­tra­tion, where she helped manage day-​​to-​​day oper­a­tions. Mike Fox began as an intern for Sen­ator Scott Brown’s re-​​election cam­paign, for which he attended ral­lies and placed calls on the candidate’s behalf.

Now the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity senior polit­ical sci­ence majors are chan­neling that expe­ri­ence as campus liaisons between stu­dents and the two Mass­a­chu­setts senate can­di­dates: Demo­crat Eliz­a­beth Warren and Brown, the Repub­lican incumbent.

They reg­is­tered voters up until the mid-​​October dead­line, and are actively teaching stu­dents about the can­di­dates and making sure sup­porters make it to the polls next week. They also sup­port the cam­paigns’ broader efforts in Boston and across the state.

“I had zero polit­ical expe­ri­ence until this cam­paign,” said Fox, who is working for Brown. “Now I’m leading a team of stu­dents here at North­eastern and out in the community.”

“Right now our job is to engage North­eastern stu­dents,” noted Buckley, a Warren sup­porter who leads a team of vol­un­teers on campus in can­vassing and get-​​out-​​the-​​vote efforts. “We work to lay out Elizabeth’s stand­points — even if you aren’t inter­ested in pol­i­tics, they’re pretty straight­for­ward. They’re mes­sages like ‘Are you inter­ested in get­ting a job after your grad­uate?’ and ‘Do you want to see the economy improve?’ These are issues that res­onate with everyone.”

Fox’s team of stu­dents uses sim­ilar tac­tics to rally sup­port for Brown. “We’re working to get stu­dents thinking about where we are as a country and where we’re going,” he said.

Fox and Buckley agreed that working on a real-​​world cam­paign has enhanced their class­room learning.

“You’re able to think about gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics as more than just theory and his­tory,” Buckley said. “You’ve been out there working in the field so you can really under­stand how what you’re learning applies and why it is important.”

After grad­u­ating in the spring, Buckley hopes to find a job in state gov­ern­ment. Fox would like to work on Capitol Hill as a con­gres­sional staffer.

“This elec­tion has given me the oppor­tu­nity to work hand-​​in-​​hand with key mem­bers of the cam­paign team as well as promi­nent politi­cians from all throughout the country,” Fox said. “I believe that these expe­ri­ences will give me both the nec­es­sary con­tacts and skills to obtain a posi­tion as a con­gres­sional staffer after grad­u­a­tion and be suc­cessful in that capacity.”

– by Matt Collette


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